The film stars Bill Cobbs (Night at the Museum), Richard Grieco (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 21 Jump Street), Eddie Steeples (My Name Is Earl, Raising Hope), Aurora Perrineau (Jem and the Holograms, Equals), Diahnna Nicole Baxter (Scandal), Gerald Webb (Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Sniper: Special Ops), Melvin Gregg and is directed by Christopher Douglas-Olen Ray (Mercenaries). The diversely cast horror film premiered at the Burbank International Film Festival to rave reviews taking top honors as the Best Horror Feature.
In the film, Ben and Linda Williams move the family into a dream home in a last ditch effort to save their troubled marriage. Despite their good intentions, they cannot shake the feeling that they are being watched by something. Their unimaginable fears are realized when things inside the house take a supernatural and sinister turn. Ben and his family flee for their lives, but it is too late. The house isn’t finished with them, trapping the family in its labyrinth. The Williams must come together as never before to fight for their family, their lives and to escape.
Sun Choke, a new thriller about a woman who becomes obsessed with a stranger as she attempts to recover from a violent psychotic break, opens in theaters this Friday (and is currently available on iTunes and VOD). The film’s director Ben Cresciman took some time to chat with me ahead of the film’s release.
Bloody Disgusting: Sun Choke deals with mental health. Where did this inspiration for this story come from? Has mental health always been a subject you’ve had interest in?
Ben Cresciman: I’d say it’s less an interest in mental health, than mental states. Mental health presupposes a binary of good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, that I felt it was important to stay away from. I think that Janie, in the moments she appears most unwell, are the in fact moments she feels most like herself. I’ve always been interested in people struggling at the margins of personality and society, clawing and fighting to find space for themselves in the center.
BD: I’ve yet to see Sun Choke yet but it looks incredible and the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. As the writer/director, what is it like to see these positive reviews and comments rolling in?
BC: It’s tremendously validating to see people connecting to the film; feeling disturbed and intrigued and moved in all the ways we’d hoped when we were making it.
BD: This is your second feature now. Was there anything different about this second time around? Was it easier at all or still just as hard to make a feature film?
BC: Everything. Bigger budget, more challenging schedule, higher stakes. My first film was in many ways an experiment in – can I make a film? There were no specific expectations. Hopes and dreams certainly, but it was primarily about the process. The second time around I was making this film. It wasn’t just about process, but product as well.
Having made one film already, I did have an inkling of who I’m becoming as a filmmaker, and that basic sense of – well, I did it once, I can do it again. Beyond that, it was harder in every conceivable way. But the challenge is half the fun.
BD: Barbara Crampton is a legend. What was it like to work with her?
BC: Fantastic. Barbara is most definitely a legend, and more crucially, she’s an immensely talented, committed, and generous collaborator. There’s a lot to balance in this role, and Barbara really understood all the contradictions that made up the fabric of this bizarre personality. She was able to articulate the truth of the character, and leaves it up to the audience to make their own decisions about whether or not she’s really the villain of the story. One brief anecdote. We were shooting a very quiet, emotional scene between Barbara and Sarah Hagan, and first take, after we cut, you could hear a pin drop. I looked around to see at least two crew members with tears in their eyes. It was incredible. We didn’t need to, but we did a second take for safety. And that’s the take we used in the film, because it was even better.
BD: When audiences sit down to watch Sun Choke, what do you hope they take away from the viewing?
BC: It’s hard to know where to begin, because I’ve learned and taken so much from the experience of making the film. I’m so proud of the work of my collaborators, and I think most of the big take aways are rooted in their contributions. Sarah Hagan’s masterful balance of intimacy and insanity in the lead role; Barbara Crampton as I don’t think anyone has ever seen her before; Mathew Rudenberg’s beautiful and bracing cinematography; or Bryan Hollon’s exquisitely terrifying original score. I could go on and on, but those are just a few of things I continue to take away from Sun Choke, and the experience of making it.
Well my #1 suspect got killed off tonight, so I have no clue as to who the killer can be. My bruised ego aside, this was one of Scream’s strongest episodes of the season and the main reason is because it narrowed down its focus to a few core characters. The entirety of the episode focused on Noah and Zoe’s kidnappings, with the occasional drop-in on Acosta and Maggie. This focus allowed Scream to actually tell a suspenseful story. It wasn’t perfect, but it sure was entertaining.
It was fairly obvious from the get-go that Zoe was going to be a goner this episode. While I wouldn’t put it past Scream to go yet another week without adding to the body count, it was reasonable to assume that either Noah or Zoe was going to die. Zoe has been a problematic character this season because she just hasn’t been that compelling of a character. In the early episodes of the season her scenes felt shoehorned in until her romance with Noah started developing. Kiana Ledé has been fine in the role, but her chemistry with John Karna hasn’t ever gelled on screen, with the buildup to their sex scene last week being the only time their relationship wasn’t grating.
Still, it’s hard not to feel bad for Noah in this situation. The circumstances surrounding Zoe’s death were a tip of the hat to the *SPOILER ALERT* “It’s not live” ending of Saw II and the *DOUBLE SPOILER ALERT* buried alive ending of The Vanishing, where the episode gets its namesake. The first woman Noah ever loved was taken from him so quickly. How he handles Zoe’s death will be anyone’s guess, but we’re most likely in for a very different Noah after this.
Noah’s kidnapping scene was a nice little homage to Randy’s death from Scream 2, right down to the spinning camera. Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer (the directors of Starry Eyes) did a great job nailing the intensity that the characters were feeling by mirroring the camera movements with their emotion. Bringing them back to direct another episode wouldn’t be the worst idea. Frequently cutting to Noah in the coffin exposed my cleithrophobia (yes, it’s different from claustrophobia), but I could have done without the Zoe hallucinations. It’s easy to see why they included her (to give Ledé more to do and emphasize Noah’s attraction to her to make her death more impactful), but it wasn’t necessary.
The majority of the episode was spent with Audrey and Emma, as they worked out their differences whilst hunting for Noah. Audrey confesses that she knew Piper was Emma’s half sister the entire time, which almost makes you want to go back and watch the first season and watch Taylor-Klaus. With this information, it’s more understandable that Audrey was so terrified of telling Emma about her relationship with Piper (and that she was mad at Emma for breaking her heart). It still doesn’t completely justify her childish behavior all season, but it makes it somewhat more tolerable.
We didn’t get to spend much time with Acosta and Maggie this week but we did get to see some flashbacks to their teenage years. It turns out that he helped Maggie bury a knife that Brandon had used to kill someone. Not much more information was given so it’s not exactly the most compelling part of the episode, but at least he found the killer’s lair in the farm house. Maggie revealed how she would communicate with Brandon as a child: by placing notes in the tree outside her house. In the present, she places another note in that very same tree in an attempt to save Emma’s life. This should be a touching moment, but it just enforces the idea that Maggie is a terrible parent who has barely been around all season (seriously, why isn’t she watching Emma like a hawk?). If your daughter is being stalked by a psychotic killer, maybe you should skip town until he’s caught. Don’t be placing notes in trees. That’s a little too passive for a situation of that magnitude.
“The Vanishing” gave us the best episode of Scream in weeks. Let’s hope it can keep up the momentum for the season’s final two episodes.
- Next week’s episode is titled “Heavenly Creatures“, after Peter Jackson’s most underrated film (it stars a very young Kate Winslet) and is directed by Jamie Travis, who directed the very underrated sex comedy For a Good Time, Call… That’s a weird pairing, but I’m intrigued to see what results from it.
- Eli witnesses Maggie placing the note in the tree. That can’t be good.
- That shot from inside Piper’s chest cavity was pretty neat, wasn’t it?
- “Long time listener. First time caller.” -I didn’t realize this was Noah’s first call from the killer. It’s about damn time!
- “How are my favorite final girls?”
- “He killed a hotel clerk just to prove a point!”
- Audrey looks around Noah’s room for two seconds before saying there’s too much stuff and it’s impossible.
- “Somebody’s living in that pig farm.” -This is just a phrase that sounds funny when spoken so seriously, but Fitzgerald sold it.
- “Well that’s not ominous.” -Audrey, on the scythe locking the doors to the pig farm.
- “You go outside and look in that field of daffodils and I’ll stay and look here.” -I cannot be the only one laughing at these lines, can I?
- Only two episodes left in the season everyone! Since my #1 Suspect was killed, who do you think is the killer now? I really don’t think it’s Gustavo (too obvious). Maybe it’s Aunt Tina? Whatever happened to her subplot with the mayor? She just disappeared off the face of the earth.
I recently watched and reviewed Dangerous Men and I basically called in the most incompetently made movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s still manages to be a lot of fun and really enjoyable. Field Freak, also known as The Monster Outside in some parts of the world, is technically (I think) a better made movie than Dangerous Men but it is without question the worst movie I have ever seen in my life. I am not exaggerating when I say that either. This movie is bad, bad, bad and it is not fun in the slightest bit.
A family relocates to a secluded in the cabin in the woods so the father can finish writing his book. Or maybe he’s writing a screenplay. I can’t remember but the point is he’s writing and his hope is that he can get it done quicker now that he’ll no longer have the distractions of city life.
At first the move seems perfect. The cabin is really nice and their cabin is located in a beautiful part of the woods. Their small son is not so happy at first, having to leave his friends and all, but eventually even he comes around and things are looking up.
Things take a change when something begins to harass the family. While home alone one day the mother sees a Big Foot-like creature outside her window. When her husband comes home she tells him what he saw. He doesn’t believe her at first but eventually he too sees the creature and they decide to fight back.
I knew virtually nothing about Field Freak when I put it on. I didn’t even know Field Freak was the original title. Perhaps had I been aware of the movie’s dumb title I would have been better prepared to watch this garbage. I have the German Blu-ray in which the title is The Monster Outside, a pretty decent title. Naturally that’s the only bit of information on this release in English. So I had this along with the artwork (see below) to go by before watching the movie.
I expected a low budget, but serious attempt at a Big Foot creature feature. Oh how I was wrong.
Field Freak of The Monster Outside or whatever the hell you want to call it is in no way a serious attempt at a monster movie. The real attempt here is to deliver a comedy in the guise of a monster movie. That would be fine if this were funny. It is not.
The monster’s costume is horrendous. It’s clearly a guy in a suit and not a very good one. It looks like a Halloween costume of a Big Foot that you’d get at Big Lots. Now if this movie were actually funny I’d totally be down with this costume, but I once again repeat that it is not.
The problem isn’t just that the movie fails to be funny (or scary) either. The real issue is that it fails to be funny while thinking it’s hilarious. There wasn’t a single moment in this movie in which I laughed. Not even a chuckle. In fact I don’t think I even cracked a smile. How does that happen? I can find humor in most things but not this. This was an absolute chore. Willingly watching Field Freak is the most horrible form of self torture you’ll ever find.
I don’t write scathing reviews often. I always try to find something positive in every movie I watch. It’s hard as hell to make a movie so I always want to give the benefit of the doubt when possible. But this movie man, this movie just feels lazy to me. It feels like a rough draft of an idea that was haphazardly put together.
It’s certainly possible that the filmmaker has a totally different sense of humor than I. Maybe to him this movie is hilarious. If so, that’s fine. Filmmakers should be doing what they love. But I struggle to think this is a best effort and because of that I can’t recommend this movie to anyone.
If you are still interested (you really shouldn’t be interested) in the movie for some strange reason, the German Blu-ray from Tiberius Films is fine. It is a region B Blu and there’s no special features but the picture quality and all that jazz is fine, I guess. It’s tough to even say the picture quality is good when the movie is so bad, but there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with the picture quality so I guess that’s a positive. Oh and the artwork, while extremely misleading (classic VHS move), is pretty good.
Field Freak (The Monster Outside) is available on Blu-ray from Germany’s Tiberius Films.
Writer/director Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel) has apparently been secretly working on a sci-fi/horror film that he’s now announced as Mission: Fear. He’s even released a super cheesy teaser trailer, which can be seen below.
All we can learn from this teaser is that Roth made it, it’s coming out in April 2017 and that it’s set in space. Aside from that, nothing has been revealed.
If anyone has any clues, guesses, or theories as to what we’re going to experience, definitely let us know in the comments!
I can't keep this quiet any longer! Super secret no more. MISSION: FEAR is coming soon! pic.twitter.com/0gVgj2HEAx
— Eli Roth (@eliroth) August 2, 2016
It’s unusual that we should see so many new releases in the 2-3 months (usually June-August) that are usually reserved for the dreaded Summer Draught. It’s like The Purge, in that it’s become another unwelcome annual tradition that you can choose to endure in relative safety behind a locked door, or outside, where the sunbaked crazies wander about slowly roasting themselves. I expect this guide to the horror games of August will go completely unnoticed by the latter group, but I hope it’ll prove useful to my indoor-inclined brothers and sisters. Alright, let’s get started.Lethe – Episode One
After a relatively lengthy hiatus from the public spotlight, developer Koukou Studios has kicked off the month of August with the debut of its episodic first-person horror game Lethe. Only time will tell if its premiere, dubbed “Anomaly”, will feel like the Amnesia-inspired game that it is, or the superhero origin story that its psychokinetically gifted protagonist might turn it into.
Release Date: August 1 (PC)Layers of Fear: Inheritance
In addition to giving us another helping of Bloober Team’s awesomely nightmarish game about the great and terrible things that can come from following your dreams, Layers of Fear: Inheritance will finally introduce us to the daughter we heard so much about when she journeys home in order to confront her past. This DLC has some replay value, too, as your decisions will determine which ending you get.
Release Date: August 2 (PC, PS4, XBO)Doom: Unto the Evil
The recently revived FPS classic Doom will receive its first paid DLC when “Unto the Evil” arrives, bringing with it three new multiplayer maps — Offering, Cataclysm, and Ritual — the UAC EMG Pistol, Kinetic Mine, hack modules, a playable Harvester demon, and even more customization options for your Doom marine.
Release Date: August 5 (PC, PS4, XBO)Emily Wants to Play
If you’re eager to get your jump scare fix, you needn’t look any further than Emily Wants to Play. That jerk Emily has been traumatizing many a pizza delivery guy on PC/Mac and mobile for months, and soon it’s unique brand of terror will head to the PS4, followed by the Xbox One later this year.
Release Date: August 8 (PS4)Doorways: Holy Mountains of Flesh
Developer Saibot Studios is nearly ready to finish what it started almost exactly one year ago with the release of the first part of the nightmarish horror adventure game Doorways: Holy Mountains of Flesh. When its third and final act, The Temple, rolls out this month, it will complete the Holy Mountains of Flesh story arc and take the game out of Early Access, as well as finally conclude the Doorways series.
Release Date: August 10 (PC)Phantaruk
It’s fitting that the H+ Corporation would choose the seemingly infinite abyss of deep space as the ideal spot to house the Purity-02 research station and its morally ambiguous experimentation with “the edge of humanity,” or transhumanism. This way, when science inevitably turns against us — as it does in the sci-fi horror game Phantaruk from developer Polyslash — no effort is required to isolate the situation.
When the Umbrella Corporation took the literal scorched earth approach to obscure its role in the outbreak that consumed Raccoon City, they almost certainly would’ve gotten away with their bad deeds if Raccoon City was just the name of some top secret space-dwelling research vessel. I guess they were just ahead of their time.
Release Date: August 16 (PC/MAC/LNX)Inside
Limbo developer Playdead is nearly ready to bring its atmospheric puzzle-platformer Inside to the PlayStation 4. The game has received considerable acclaim since it arrived on the Xbox One in June, followed by a release on Steam in July. Much like the studio’s previous game, this is absolutely a must-play.
Release Date: August 23 (PS4)The Other 99
Imagine waking up alone and isolated on a mysterious island, armed with a cryptic note, and nothing else, to help you return to the life you were suddenly forced to leave behind. Now imagine that note has only one line, and it reads “The only way off the island is through The Other 99.” Such is the jarring way in which the first-person survival game The Other 99 introduces players to its relentlessly Darwinian world where only the strongest survive.
Release Date: August 25 (Steam Early Access, followed by PS4, XBO)Resident Evil 4
Back in February, Capcom let us in on its plans to update the last three installments in the main Resident Evil series to the PS4 and Xbox One, along with all their respective DLC. We’ve watched this happen in reverse-chronological order, starting with RE6 in March, followed by RE5 in June, leaving it to the Resident Evil 4 port (these can hardly be considered remasters) to bookend this latest onslaught of disappointingly unimaginative re-releases.
Release Date: August 30 (PC, PS4, XBO)Chernobyl VR Project
When the Chernobyl VR Project released on the Oculus Rift last month, it wasn’t quite finished. That’ll change later this month when the final release rolls out on the Rift, alongside a more “advanced and extensive version” for the HTC Vive. The Chernobyl VR Project stands out from the majority of other virtual reality titles because it combines the interactive nature of video games with movie narration software to give players the chance to freely explore and learn more about the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant meltdown that transformed nearby Pripyat into a ghost town overnight.
Release Date: TBA August (HTC Vive)The Works of Mercy
Unlike the majority of its competitors, The Works of Mercy favors a more literal definition of the term ‘psychological horror’, which the game’s sociopathic puppeteer weaponizes against the player by forcing them into a harrowing situation that’s designed to make any empathetic human being tremendously uncomfortable. It’s the video game equivalent to the film Would You Rather, inspired by genre classics like Roman Polanski’s Repulsion and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
Release Date: TBA August (PC, followed by MAC/LNX, PS4, XBO)
Jessica McNamee, pictured in The Loved Ones, is set to co-star opposite Jason Statham in Warner Bros. long-awaited tentpole Meg. Chinese actress Fan Bingbing (X-Men: Days of Future Past) is also on board, Variety adds.
National Treasure helmer Jon Turtletaub will direct the film, set for sail on March 2, 2018.
The “Meg” movie is centered on an international underwater observation program, led by Chinese scientists, which comes under attack by an unknown danger. With its deep-sea submersible disabled and trapped at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, they need rescue. Statham will portray a former naval captain and expert deep-sea diver, who’s recruited for a likely suicide mission — even though he faced the predator years before and was forced him to abort his mission and abandon half his crew.
The story is based on Steve Alten’s novel “MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror,” published in 1997. The title is derived from the ancient Megalodon species that has survived while being trapped in the Mariana Trench due to a barrier of cold water.
The film will be co-financed by Flagship Entertainment; Gravity Pictures, a division of China Media Capital (CMC); and Warner Bros. Gravity Pictures will distribute the film in China, with Warner Bros. handling the film throughout the rest of the world.
Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Belle Avery and Colin Wilson are producing. Executive producers are Wei Wayne Jiang, Barrie M. Osborne, Randy Greenberg and Gerald R. Molen.
The wait for the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired point-and-click survival horror game Asylum has been a long one. Longer than we, or even the talented developers at Senscape, initially anticipated when the game successfully raised nearly $120k on Kickstarter more than three years ago. We still don’t know when the Hanwell Mental Institute will have its grand opening, but until I hear otherwise, I’m going to continue expecting my invitation to arrive before the New Year.
Senscape seems very aware of the almost palpable levels of anticipation for this promising love letter to the ghosts of horror gaming’s past. In a recent update inspired by the makers of Doorways, the studio shared an interactive 360° panoramic window into the first of Hanwell’s 100+ rooms.
As far as I know, this image only works on the Asylum Facebook page — so all you have to do is click on the post below to begin your tour.
Asylum is slated for a release later this year on PC, Mac and Linux.
The 1988 horror slasher Pumpkinhead is the latest horror film to land on the “remake” table, although the man behind the updated version is trying his best to prove that his intentions are nothing short of honorable.
Peter Block, known as one of the executive producers of the Saw franchise, has obtained the rights to the Pumpkinhead franchise, according to EW, and he wants to bring the creature back from the cinema graveyard. He enlisted a young scribe by the name of Nate Atkins to write the script.
“‘Pumpkinhead’ is one of my favorite horror films of the late ’80s, early ’90s. Stan Winston sits on that Mount Rushmore of iconic filmmakers because of his creature designs, and that was his first directing effort. The creature’s great but the emotional story is wonderful as well,” Block explains.
The updated version is going to pay homage to the original film but only those who know the first well will catch on. “There’s a lot of Easter eggs for people who know the original — iconic shots and iconic lines that we’re going to use.” However, Block assures everyone that there is a purpose to this remake, stating, “…we’ve enhanced the setting, and we’ve expanded the characters somewhat, to give it a different kind of experience.”
Perhaps the biggest point that Block makes is that he recognizes the respect the horror community has for Stan Winston and practical FX, saying, “I am a big proponent of practical effects. That was the great thing about the original. A lot of the films I still respond to most today, it’s because of the practical effects. We think that it’s going to be a nice slow reveal, lots of scares and lots of action in the beginning, and a great creature in the end, which everybody should be able to look at and say, ‘Oh, that’s Pumpkinhead!’ It’s not like you’re all of a sudden going to find that it’s some amorphous, nebulous, CGI wispy thing. You’re going to know it came from the Pumpkinhead family lineage.”
In the original film, which starred Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Alien3), a store owner is overcome with grief after the accidental death of his son. Seeking out vengeance, he teams with a local witch to raise the entity known as “Pumpkinhead” so that those who cause him so much grief can suffer their own horrific fates.
The horror/thriller Clowntown has been picked up for a N. American release by ITN Distribution. It will hit limited theaters on September 30th and will be followed by VOD and home video formats on October 4th.
“‘Clowntown’ tells the story of a group of friends who get stranded in a seemingly abandoned town and find themselves stalked by a gang of violent psychopaths dressed as clowns. It is loosely inspired by the clowns who terrorized Bakersfield, CA in 2014.”
Directed by Tom Nagel and written by Jeff Miller (Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan), the film stars Brian Nagel, Lauren Elise (Help), Andrew Staton (Relentless), Katie Keene (Union Furnace), Jeff Denton (The Beast of Bray Road) and Greg Violand (Batman v. Superman).
Netflix has announced that it will adapt Sarah Pinborough’s thriller novel 13 Minutes, a story that sounds like it’s taken inspiration from Pi and The Number 23, according to Variety. The novel received high praise from Stephen King.
In the book, which came out earlier this year, “…a young, popular high school student named Natasha is found in a freezing river, supposedly having drowned and been dead for 13 minutes before she is brought back to life. After that, her friends start acting distant and she begins finding patterns with the number 13 all around her.”
Produced by Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage, Michael De Luca, and Trevor Engelson, 13 Minutes will be adapted by Savage and Schwartz.
With all the excitement surrounding Adam Wingard’s Blair Witch, I think it’s easy to forget that he’s also got another high-profile movie in the works: the Netflix live-action adaptation of the wildly popular anime/manga Death Note, which was written by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata.
Now, it’s been revealed by Mashable that Willem Dafoe (Spiderman, The Boondock Saints, Antichrist) has been confirmed as the voice of Ryuk the Shinigami, the demonic entity that drops the Death Note book in the human realm for his own personal amusement.
Wingard proclaims, “I am honored to be working with this great cast and I look forward to bringing Tsugumi and Takeshi’s unique story to a global audience.”
“‘Death Note’ follows a high school student who comes across a supernatural notebook, realizing it holds within it a great power; if the owner inscribes someone’s name into it while picturing their face, he or she will die. Intoxicated with his new godlike abilities, the young man begins to kill those he deems unworthy of life.”
The movie stars Nat Wolff (Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars) as Light Turner; Margaret Qualley (The Nice Guys, The Leftovers) as Mia Sutton; Keith Stanfield (Straight Outta Compton, Dope, Short Term 12) as “L”; Paul Nakauchi (Alpha and Omega) as Watari; and Shea Whigham (“Agent Carter”, “Boardwalk Empire”) as James Turner.
The film will be produced by Roy Lee (The Ring, The Departed), Dan Lin (The Lego Movie, Sherlock Holmes), Jason Hoffs (Edge of Tomorrow), and Masi Oka (“Heroes Reborn”, “Hawaii-Five-0”).
Lee and Din add, “Our vision for Death Note has always been to bring this captivating story to the screen for its longtime manga fans and to introduce the world to this dark and mysterious masterpiece. The talent and diversity represented in our cast, writing, and producing teams reflect our belief in staying true to the story’s concept of moral relevance — a universal theme that knows no racial boundaries.”
At the turn of the century, there was no director who was more popular than M. Night Shyamalan. After directing the Rosie O’Donnell film Wide Awake in 1998, he unleashed The Sixth Sense upon the world in 1999. That film is regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all time, and that is mostly thanks to the twist ending. This isn’t to say that the film doesn’t stand up on its own apart from the twist. It absolutely does, but the consensus is that the twist is the most memorable thing about the movie. The success of that film would be both a blessing and a curse for Shyamalan, who set incredibly high expectations for all of his subsequent films.
After the enormous success of The Sixth Sense, Shymalan wrote and directed the Bruce Willis/Samuel L. Jackson superhero movie Unbreakable. While critical reaction was mostly positive, audience reception was lukewarm at best. The film has since gained a rather sizable cult following, but in 2000 it was considered a creative disappointment despite earning back over three times its budget.
Two years later, Shyamalan returned with Signs, starring Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix and a very young Abigail Breslin and Rory Culkin. Released 14 years ago today, Signs had a lot of buzz leading up to it’s premiere. It wouldn’t be until after Lady in the Water when Shyamalan truly started to become the butt of every joke in Hollywood. Signs received critical acclaim (it’s his second best-reviewed film), with many praising it for it’s buildup and level of suspense while criticizing its payoff.
The payoff, of course, is the half-assed attempt at a twist during the film’s climax. As many of you probably already know, the aliens who are attempting to take over the world have a severe allergy to water, an element that makes up 71% of the earth’s surface. It certainly makes them seem a lot less intelligent than you would think they would be. As misguided as that twist was, the rest of the film does hold up. It is also home to one of the greatest jump scares in cinema history. If there is one thing to be said for Signs, it’s that it shows the “less is more” approach can work wonders for a film. There are hardly any jump scares in the film, which is why the alien’s reveal is so effective.
The film also boasts strong performances from the entire cast. Mel Gibson is good, but the film belongs to Phoenix. Early career performances from Culkin and Breslin are also impressive. One thing that Shymalan has always excelled at is injecting a brooding atmosphere into his films. Even trash like The Happening does a pretty decent job at creating an atmosphere for its killer plant world.
Made on a budget of $72 million ($3 million less than that of Unbreakable), Signs was a huge success. It grossed $227.9 million domestically and $180.2 million internationally for a worldwide total of $408.2 million. While the opinion on the film has cooled in the 14 years since its release, it is still notable for being Shyamalan’s second highest grossing film after The Sixth Sense.
I remember seeing Signs with my uncle when on one of my annual summer trips to visit my grandparents (I was 13). I thought it was fine at the time but it’s one of those movies where I like it a little bit more each time I watch it. What are your thoughts on Signs? Do you think it’s Shyamalan’s last good film (I was a huge fan of The Visit, which proved to be equally as divisive)? Or are you not a fan? Share your thoughts and memories on the film in the comments below!
Are you a horror master? Do you know bits of genre trivia that astound even the most dedicated of gorehounds? If so, this week’s quiz is right up your alley!
Below is a 21-question quiz and it’s up to you to see if you can correctly answer the challenging questions. Some are easy, some are hard, and some will make you scratch your head. But I have faith in you all!
My result was “You Can Definitely Survive!“, which explains the following:
You Can Definitely Survive The Ultimate Horror Movie Trivia Quiz! According to your answers, you have more than enough knowledge to survive any in-depth discourse on this intriguing genre! From the silent era to meta-horror, your mind is a plethora of horror movie trivia. No matter the movie anyone might bring up, you have either seen it, or read enough about it and its context to give a verbal dissertation on its faults and merits! Happy horror-ing!
Head on down and let us know in the comments how you did!
On Monday Mr. Disgusting had the exclusive on the return of Vestron Video with the Blu-ray release of Chopping Mall! Today we have more exciting news as additional titles have been announced to be coming from Vestron Video via Lionsgate. Chopping Mall will get things started on September 27th and joining in on that same day to kick things off will be Blood Diner! Blood Diner is a whole lot of 80’s cheese as it attempts to make a loose sequel/remake of the Herschell Gordon Lewis splatter classic, Blood Feast. Much like the Chopping Mall Blu-ray, Blood Diner is going to come loaded with bonus content!
BLOOD DINER BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
- AUDIO COMMENTARY with Director Jackie Kong
- “Queen Kong”
- “The Cook, The Uncle, and The Detective”
- “Open for Business”
- “Scoring for Sheetar!”
- “You Are What They Eat”
- Archival Interview with Project Consultant Eric Caidin
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spots
- Still Gallery
In order to raise an ancient Egyptian goddess, two cannibalistic brothers use their restaurant to add something special to the menu in Blood Diner.
Ok so if we just stopped at getting Chopping Mall and Blood Diner on Blu-ray that would be super rad and I’d be thrilled, but it’s the other titles Lionsgate has lined up for this Vestron Video Collector’s Series that has me leaping with joy. No word on release dates or special features yet, but here are the three other titles currently in the works:
Waxwork and Waxwork II: Lost in Time Double Feature
Return of the Living Dead 3
C.H.U.D. II: Bud the CHUD
It’s ok, I needed a moment too. Go ahead and take it all in.
Return of the Living Dead 3?!? On Blu?!? What?!? Another Brian Yuzna classic is coming to Blu-ray! What a time to be alive my friends. As of now only these 5 releases have been announced, but I’m hopefully this is just the beginning. Lionsgate has the rights to a lot of classic 80’s horror titles and if they truly hope this vault up we could have a lot of goodies headed our way.
The suggested retail price for these releases is set at $39.99, which may sound like a lot at first but that’s in line with a lot of the Arrow Video releases and the Scream Factory Collector’s Editions. If that’s the market Lionsgate is going for and the quality their aiming to achieve then that price is certainly justified. Gauging from the special features for their first two releases they seem to be on the right track. If you look I’m sure you’ll be able to find deals on these as the release dates get closer. Best Buy already has a pre-order link up for Chopping Mall and it’s currently $27.99.
As we get more details on future releases we’ll certainly pass them on. In the meantime rejoice horror fans, the home video market is starting to get a lot more crowded and we should be welcoming that fact with open arms!
A trailer for Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden has been released and can be seen below. However, I should tell you not to expect too much in the way of explaining the story as it’s a series of beautifully composed shots with zero dialogue, all set to a pounding, almost chaotic cue.
The movie is inspired by the crime drama novel “Fingersmith”, which was written by British author Sarah Waters.
“Park presents a gripping and sensual tale of a young Japanese Lady living on a secluded estate, and a Korean woman who is hired to serve as her new handmaiden, but who is secretly involved in a conman’s plot to defraud her of her large inheritance.”
Starring Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo, Kim Tae-ri, The Handmaiden will be released in theaters on October 14th.
It’s difficult to believe that Wes Craven died almost a whole year ago. Today would have been his 77th birthday. Craven passed away last August after a battle with brain cancer. He was known for directing seminal horror films like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream and The Last House on the Left, along with the occasional non-horror film like the Meryl Streep-starring Music of the Heart.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in a strict Baptist household, Craven earned a degree in psychology from Wheaton University in Illinois before obtaining a master’s degree in philosophy and writing from Johns Hopkins University. Shortly after graduating, he began teaching at various universities and purchased a 16mm camera that he used to make short films. This eventually led him into the world of pornography as he filmed several X-rated films under various pseudonyms, the most famous of which being The Fireworks Woman under the name Abe Snake (he even has a cameo in that film).
Shortly before The Fireworks Woman (which was released in 1975), Craven broke into the film industry in 1972 with his rape-revenge film The Last House on the Left, shocking audiences and appalling some critics (it was even banned in the United Kingdom). From there he went on to film The Hills Have Eyes, Deadly Blessing (a truly underrated gem) and Swamp Thing before cementing his status as a master of horror with the release of 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street and the creation of one of horror cinema’s most recognizable villains: Freddy Krueger.
After a string of critical and commercial failures (Deadly Friend, Shocker) and moderate successes (The Serpent and the Rainbow, The People Under the Stairs), Craven returned to the franchise that made him famous with Wes Craven’s New Nightmare in 1994 before re-defining horror again with Scream in 1996. Outside of the Scream franchise, Craven never found much critical or commercial success again, with the exception of 2005’s Red Eye.
This is of course an abbreviated version of Craven’s career, but we wanted to shine a light on the man since we are nearing the anniversary of his death and commemorate his life and work. Share your thoughts and memories of Craven in the comments below and celebrate this wonderful man who was taken from us far too soon. Happy Birthday, Wes Craven. You were one of a kind.
Bloody Disgusting will be on hand at Flashback Weekend Chicago Horror Convention to cover the 20th anniversary reunion of the 1996 Wes Craven classic Scream featuring personal appearances by Neve Campbell (Sydney Prescott), Matthew Lillard (Stu Macher), and Skeet Ulrich (Billy Loomis).
The trio will host an outdoor showing of Scream (1996) on a giant screen on Saturday, August 6, 2016 including an extended discussion as they share their experiences making Wes Craven’s masterpiece.
Additional guests include Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange); a 20th Anniversary reunion of The CRaft featuring Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Skeet Ulrich; Ash vs Evil Dead stars Ted Raimi (Season Two) and Jill Marie Jones (Season One); and special effects legend Robert Kurtzman (KNB co-founder), and Chicago Horror Host legend Svengoolie (Rich Koz).
In honor of Scream, a huge Final Girls and Slashers reunion featuring:
FINAL GIRLS – Neve Campbell (Scream), Adrienne King (Friday the 13th), Amy Steel (Friday the 13th Part 2), Sharni Vinson (You’re Next), Melanie Kinnaman (Friday the 13th: A New Beginning), Kathleen Kinmont (Bride of Re-Animator, Halloween 4).
SLASHERS – Julian Sands (Warlock 1 + 2), Andrew Divoff – Djinn – (The Wishmaster 1 & 2), Chris Durand – Michael Myers (Halloween H20) & Ghostface, (Scream 2), Tom Morga Jason (Friday the 13th: A New Beginning) & Michael Myers (Halloween 4), Bob Elmore Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2).
Rob Zombie’s 31 reunion – Malcolm McDowell, Meg Foster, Judy Geeson, and the killer clowns Pancho Moler (Sick Head), and David Ury (Schizo Head).
Evening Film Screenings include the eagly awaited Phantasm: Remastered 4K digital restoration of Don Coscarelli’s 1979 Horror Classic. Phantasm: Remastered showings at the Carmike Muvico Rosemont introduced by Don Coscarelli.
Bloody Disgusting will be screening shorts from the newly launched World of Death prior to the screenings.
As Fantasia‘s 20th anniversary comes to a close in Montreal all eyes are looking toward the fall festivals for the next wave of genre discoveries. With the Quebec based event hosting an industry market it seems a local project just might be the next hot ticket. Selected and pitched in Frontieres co-production section, the team for Brain Freeze emerged as one of the strongest titles thanks to a stunning proof of concept. Watch the Canadian winter set showcase below for a look at an evergreen style bio-zombie with the cutest survivor evading being eaten up. Thanks to ScreenDaily for finding the video online after the presentation.
This is a proof of concept for an upcoming zombie movie with Roy Dupuis directed by Julien Knafo and produced by Barbara Shrier from Palomar film. It takes places in Montréal Quebec in the middle of a very cold winter. It’s a dark comedy (think Shaun of the dead / Zombieland) that wants to take the zombie genre to an all new level.
I watch a lot of movies and a fair amount of those you could call bizarre or strange. In fact I’d say I try to seek those type of films out. Out of all the films I have ever seen, I’ve never seen anything that comes close to Dangerous Men. It’s nearly indescribable and something you’ll never forget.
**Now before I get into this, I will be giving spoilers, sort of. I’m not sure how you can spoil something that makes no sense, but you’ve been warned.**
In terms of plot it’s pretty incoherent. There’s a very loose outline of a story about a woman named Mira (Melody Wiggins) seeking revenge on basically all men because a biker killed her fiancé, Daniel (Coti Cook). Mira and Daniel are recently engaged and they’re just getting ready to start their lives together. They go to spend a lovely evening at the beach when a couple of bikers, Tiger (Gorge Derby) & Leo (John Clure), happen upon them. Tiger decides he wants a piece of Mira and orders Leo to take care of Daniel until he’s done. Unfortunately for poor Leo, Daniel is more than he bargained for and ends up choking Leo until he’s dead. Tiger sees that and rushes to stab Daniel to death. Tiger ends up so distraught by the death of his only friend that he can’t even finish raping Mira and sadly walks off the beach. Mira then runs after Tiger claiming she’s glad that “wimp” Daniel is dead.
Tiger and Mira end up at a rundown hotel and I do mean rundown. Mira, in an attempt to be sexy, tells Tiger she’s going to shower to get ready for him and then proceeds to enter a shower that you’d expect to see in a $25-a-night motel room in Amarillo, Texas. Maybe you’ve never stayed in a $25-a-night motel room in Amarillo, but I have and it ain’t pretty. The tiles are all broken up and you can see the pipes inside the walls, just nasty all around. So Mira gets freshened up in that shower and returns with a towel draped around her. Mira tells Tiger to begin with her knees and then drops the towel revealing full front nudity.
Tiger begins to start kissing and tickling Mira’s knees, which is weird. He moves from her knees to her belly button and then that’s when things get crazy. Mira pulls a knife from her butt cheeks. You literally see a knife in between Mira’s butt cheeks, which are squeezed together to hold it in place. She pulls the knife out and stabs Tiger to death. Logistically, this makes no sense. How did she walk with that knife between her cheeks? At best that seems insanely dangerous. But screw logistics, this is memorable!
Oh and after Tiger is dead, Mira shakes her fist at him just to further salt the wound.
Now that Mira has her revenge she attempts to get home and in order to do so she hitch-hikes a ride from an old British man. This old man seems harmless at first but then he randomly pulls over his truck and attempts to rape Mira at gun point. Mira, the smart girl she is pretends to be into and attempts to seduce the man long enough to pull out her knife, the same one she had in her buttocks, and holds it to this dude’s junk. She then makes him get completely naked and wander the desert while she stills his truck.
The next 5 minutes or so are spent with this British man walking around the desert naked, mumbling too himself. He has nothing to with the rest of the movie and yet spend a good chunk of time with him. It’s so insanely strange. You think maybe he’s going to work his way back into the plot. Nope!
On the other side of LA, at least I think that’s where this movie takes place, Daniel’s brother, who is an unnamed Police Detective, is hassling another police officer to find his brother’s killer. Daniel’s brother, from her on out referred to as Police Detective, is supposed to be on vacation, but naturally he wants to catch his brother’s killer. His fellow police officer, who also goes unnamed, keeps saying, “hey, aren’t you supposed to be on vacation?” I guess Police Detective’s brother being dead doesn’t register as that big of a deal.
Now this other police officer, he gets a call from his girlfriend who complains that he never has time for her. He explains that he’s a police officer and his time is limited. She doesn’t take this news very well and he basically shrugs and is like, “it is what it is.” But then it cuts to the two of them having sex! And then it cuts back to him at the police station. Oh and that police station is just a room with a desk and a chair. The highest production values you’ll ever find.
Then flip back to Mira who is now spending time with prostitutes to kill them but also learn from them? I’m not entirely sure, but she spends a lovely evening with one particular prostitute and the two talk it out until they both end up in tears. So that happens.
We catch back up with the Police Detective who has now made his way to a biker bar because he somehow knows bikers killed his brother. He then wants to find out who their leader is. Not sure why, there’s no evidence that the leader of these bikers killed Daniel, but I guess it’s best to start with the top. He finds out the leader’s name it Black Pepper (Bryan Jenkins) and finds out where he lives. Unfortunately once he gets into a showdown with Black Pepper, Black Pepper wins and runs off. Luckily Police Detective’s sergeant (I guess) shows up and chases Black Pepper into the house of a blind woman. Then the movie ends with a freeze frame.
The movie ends with a freeze frame of three people on the screen who were just introduced into the movie within the last twenty minutes or so. These are not main characters. The blind woman was just introduced in this very scene. She has like a minute of screen time and she’s in the final freeze frame. This doesn’t make sense.
Dangerous Men is the most incompetently made movie I have ever seen, hands down. The Room looks like the work of P.T. Anderson when compared to this. And it’s not for a lack of effort or a film being hastily rushed together. Rad started this movie in 1984 and it took nearly two decades to finish. He put a lot of time and effort into this and it just didn’t work out, at least not in the traditional sense.
The film has a lot of issues with the biggest being the editing. In addition to writer, directing, producer and scoring, Rad served as the editor. I’m not sure Rad edited anything. This is just the footage he had pieced together. The pacing is so clunky and the film jumps around with no flow. I’m sure editing with no plot is hard, but this probably could have been smoothed out some.
Dangerous Men is the latest release from Drafthouse Films and it’s comparable to Miami Connection, though even that film is much better made. Miami Connection for example may suffer from a wide variety of issues from a pure filmmaking aspect, but at least the fight scenes are choreographed excellently. The fight scenes in Dangerous Men? They’re hilariously bad.
So yeah, technically speaking Dangerous Men is a horrendous movie. But oh my god is it a ton of fun. It’s not as fun as Miami Connection but it’s really close. I mean, the chick pulled a knife out of her buttocks, that’s amazing! How can you not love that? For all the issues John S. Rad had as a filmmaker, he certainly wasn’t afraid to try things and we should appreciate that.
Also, Dangerous Men is probably the only movie with a knee fetish. All the sex scenes have these weird moments with knees.
The Blu-ray is an absolute must. There’s a commentary with Bryan Connolly and Zack Carlson, the authors of Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film. I haven’t listened to that commentary yet, but there are three other special features that are awesome. There’s a documentary called That’s So John Rad from filmmakers Tim Skousen and Jeremy Coon (Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made). In this doc Skousen and Coon set out to find other individuals that saw the original 2005 LA run of Dangerous Men. This is a really good look at the cult following behind the film and even features interviews with Rad’s daughter and grandchildren. In addition to this doc there is an interview with Peter Palian, the film’s DP who stuck around for the entire 20+ year production of the film. He gives some wonderful insight on the what it was like to work with Rad. And finally the capper is a full episode of Queer Edge with Jack E. Jett, a public access television show in which Rad was a guest.
Dangerous Men is a wonder to behold. It represents the best and worst of renegade, indie filmmaking all at once. It serves as inspiration, while also being a cautionary tale. It’s a beautiful mess that you’ll never forget.