Steven C. Miller’s (Under The Bed, Aggression Scale) new thriller Submerged opens in LA and NYC on November 27th.
EW landed the first clip that shows two armed men shooting out a tire of a limo, sending the car and its passengers over a cliff and into the water.
“A limousine joyride goes berserk in this breathless, pulse-pounding thriller. Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls) stars as an ex-soldier turned bodyguard hired to protect a young woman. But while cruising with a group of friends one night, their stretch limo is run off the road and underwater by a gang of ruthless kidnappers—who then dive in to finish the job. Suddenly it’s sink or swim, as the bodyguard must fight to keep the vehicle from becoming a watery grave.”
Starring Tim Daly, Jonathan Bennet, and Rosa Salazar, Submerged was written by Scott Milam (Mother’s Day).
Shut In, the latest horror thriller from team that brought you Delivery: The Beast Within, has been retitled to Intruders and will open in limited theaters and on VOD platforms January 15, 2016 through Momentum Pictures.
In Shut In, “Beth Riesgraf stars as Anna, a woman who suffers from agoraphobia so crippling that when a trio of criminals breaks into her house, she cannot bring herself to flee. But what the intruders don’t realize is that agoraphobia is not her only psychosis.“
The film also stars Rory Culkin (Scream 4), Martin Starr (Dead Snow 2, HBO’s “Silicon Valley”) and Jack Kesy (FX’s “The Strain”).
Shut In is the debut feature from Adam Schindler, one half of LA based film collective Type AB, which was behind last year’s festival favorite Delivery: The Beast Within. That film also World Premiered at the LA Film Festival back in 2013, where it secured US distribution through Salient Media/Tribeca. TJ Cimfel and David White penned the screenplay.
Steven Schneider (WER, Insidious, Paranormal Activity) is producing with Jeff Rice (Lone Survivor), Lati Grobman (The Iceman) and Erik Olsen (The Book of Eli, Orphan). Executive producers are Christa Campbell (Texas Chainsaw 3D, Leatherface), Matthew Lamothe, Tommy Vlahopoulos, Brian Netto and Rob Van Norden.
The minds behind ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” will soon be bunking with ABC Family.
The network on Wednesday announced a straight-to-series order for “Dead of Summer,” a summer camp-set horror story written and executive-produced by “Once” creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis, along with “Once” writer Ian Goldberg, says TVLine.
“Set in the late 1980s, school is out for the summer, and a sun-drenched season of firsts beckons the counselors at Camp Clearwater, a seemingly idyllic Midwestern summer camp, including first loves, first kisses – and first kills. Clearwater’s dark, ancient mythology awakens, and what was supposed to be a summer of fun soon turns into one of unforgettable scares and evil at every turn.”
“Dead of Summer” is part coming-of-age story, part supernatural horror story,and said to be a bold, new series that mixes genres as it examines the light and dark of a summer like no other.
If you still haven’t gotten around to indulging yourself with a trip to the perpetually grimy world of Resident Evil Revelations 2, now is the time to atone for your sins.
The first chapter in the episodic spin-off is available free-of-charge on the PlayStation Store — for PS3 and PS4 users — as well as on Xbox Live. This way you can get a taste of what it has to offer without the risk of feeling $5 worth of buyer’s remorse.
In related news, the Resident Evil Revelations 2 Deluxe Edition arrived earlier this week for the Xbox One. With a $29.99 price tag, it’s really more for the most elite of us. To qualify, you must’ve been using an EpiPen in the place of a “traditional” alarm clock for at least 5 years, and your K/D ratio must not have ever fallen below 1.5. Not ever.
Capcom did a bang up job with Revelations 2, even if it does make the same mistake The Evil Within did by relying too much on a stereotypical understanding of what’s scary.
Scary visuals only go so far, and I think we’ve seen enough humanoid monsters with faces that resemble dirty pork chops wrapped in barbed wire to not be that intimidated by it. Aside from that, this game is definitely worth your time if you’re a fan of the series, the horror genre, or if you’re just fond of shooting ugly guys in the dick.
Starz has uploaded a behind-the-scenes video for their horror comedy series “Ash vs Evil Dead” that is a great glimpse into how the creators are all about practical FX over CGI! The video shows interviews with star Bruce Campbell and executive producers Sam Raimi and Bob Tapert as they laud the realism and necessity of practical FX in creating the right kind of tone of the show.
There are also clips of the makeup and FX teams creating the Deadites, so if you don’t want that kind of “breaking the fourth wall” experience, I’d stick away from watching this. But if that kind of stuff revs your engines like it does mine, absolutely check it out!
We all know that sinking feeling of disappointment, despair, and sadness when a film that we’re looking forward to is put in developmental hell or is shoved to the side with an unknown release date. After all, it took years for Trick ‘r Treat to be released and look what we’d been missing that whole time! This wouldn’t be a problem had we simply not known about the movie being made in the first place, am I right? But then, to quote the great Bob Ross, “Gotta have opposites dark and light… It’s like in life. Gotta have a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come.” I’d rather know about films that are planned on being made and then never see them than not know about them at all. It makes me appreciate what I do have all the more.
It’s the same with music and bands. Having had them, I find myself always wanting more and more, especially from artists whose music is fascinating and takes you on a journey. Alas, just like any project, things can simply come to an end and we, the consumers, are left with what exists and a dream of what could be.
Below are five bands that I desperately miss. After checking them out (and hopefully really giving their discography a shot), let me know some of the bands that you miss and wish would come back to release new music!People in Planes
If you’ve never heard of this Welsh alt-rock band, I won’t blame you. They weren’t huge but MAN did they create some stellar and exciting music. Their album As Far As The Eye Can See is one of my favorite albums and is one that I can put on and not skip a single track. The band officially broke up in 2013 but they hadn’t released any new material since 2009, so their loss reaches further back.A Perfect Circle
We’ve been gifted one new song in 2013 and that’s it since the two new tracks offered on 2004’s eMOTIVe. The last real album that they’ve released was 2003’s Thirteenth Step, which was simply incredible. There have been talks that the band is working on new material but that’s been the rumor for a while now. Until something solid comes out, I’m not holding my breath. I’ll simply dream of a day when it comes true.
Speaking of APC, if guitarist Billy Howerdel could also release another Ashes Divide album, I wouldn’t object.The Haunted
Okay, so this one technically isn’t fair because they’re still a band. However, the current formation is nowhere close to what it used to be. And personally – god, I’m so ready to catch a ton of flack for this – I prefer the Peter Dolving-era over anything that Marco Aro offered. Yeah, it’s heavier and more vicious with Aro but with Dolving it was far more interesting and complex. It was the kind of metal that I could play for people who don’t like that style of music and yet they’d appreciate it and want to know more.Porcupine Tree
Again, I’m slightly cheating here because they never said that they’ve broken up. However, it’s been over six years since The Incident, which is twice as long as the longest time between two of their albums. With that kind of distance and seeing each member going off and doing their own thing – drummer Gavin Harrison is working with King Crimson, bassist Colin Edwin has several projects, including O.R.k. and Metallic Taste of Blood, Richard Barbieri recently reissued his Jansen & Barbieri album Stone to Flesh, and guitarist/vocalist Steven Wilson has several solo albums under his belt – it’s hard to imagine them all forming together to create something new. That’s a shame because many of their tracks are absolute masterpieces and even their mediocre work is leaps and bounds above most music released today.Rage Against The Machine
In times such as these, I think that a new RATM would be more relevant than ever. I may not agree with their views and politics on every matter but they brought a lot of issues to light and created discussions where none were being had. That alone is something that makes me crave their presence.
Considering it’s been just over 16 years since The Battle of Los Angeles, their last album with original music, and taking into account that seemingly none of the band have any interest in getting back together, any hope for something to come from the LA-based rap metal group is pretty much wasted. But that doesn’t mean we can’t wish upon a shooting star every once in a while.
How many of us can think of a horror movie and pull a quote out of thin air whenever needed? Hell, how many of us say a line from a horror movie just because we can? Some lines have just ingrained themselves into our brains due to their iconic status.
Artist Ian Simmons decided to take those lines and give them some serious love by creating amazing hand drawn quotes that are themed after the movie they come from. While he does all kinds of movies throughout the year, October saw him focus on horror movies such as The Ring, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser, and more. Below is a gallery of some of these images.
James Cameron’s 1986 Aliens is the best action-horror movie ever made. And part of its charm are the realistic products hidden like easter eggs throughout.
Her Reebok “Alien Stompers” were sold in limited quantities back in 1987, and have since been reissued, and even custom made by various shoe artists.
While you’ll need to break the bank to get your hands on those, there’s a new opportunity that’s just presented itself.
Seiko is reissuing its Giugiaro 7A28-7000 watch, most famous for being on Sigourney Weaver’s wrist for much of the running time of Aliens, reports The Verge. The original watch was conceived by Italian car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro in the early 1980s, and is known for its blocky panel that houses chunky chronograph buttons to the right of the watch face. It was also the world’s first watch to use an analog quartz chronograph movement.
The new “Seiko X Giugiaro Spirit Smart” reissues aren’t quite identical to the 7A28-7000, adds the site; there’s no crown or extra button on the left side.
The grey SCED035 and black SCED037 watches are limited to 3,000 pieces each, and will cost ¥32,000 (about $260) and ¥36,000 ($292) respectively.
“Abra Cadaver” did something that iZombie hasn’t done since last season: make the mystery-of-the-week fun and interesting. There wasn’t much in the way of advancing the season arc this week (though some progress was made and a new mystery woman was introduced), but it wasn’t as noticeable since the aftermath of Sid Wicked’s murder led to such fun.
This week’s mystery centered around Goth magician Sid Wicked, who was murdered with a sharp-edged playing card in the middle of a magician’s convention (named Presto Fest, of all things). While the eventual reveal was a bit silly (was it not obvious that Meers was a woman?) the journey getting there was a lot of fun. Until Meers was introduced, it was a constant guessing game of whodunit. All of the magicians and their tricks made the investigation supremely entertaining to watch, and Meers’ identity as Irina the maid was a clever, if slightly goofy, payoff.
Maid in hotel screams. A Goth guy has a card in his throat. A magician walks away. Sid Wicked is victim. Presto Fest. There was a rotten fish with a note under the welcome basket. He was yelling at the angels and his assistant was named Angel. He was mad she was at the bar with another magician. Houdina calls Liv to be her assistant and throws bladed cards. She was engaged to Sid. Magnificent Magnus was having sex in a room without cameras. Smoak and Meers. The mid did it and she’s in the hotel. Meers is the maid. Irina is the killer!
The highlight of the episode had to be Liv and Blaine playing Scooby-Doo with their investigation into the zombie killings. It’s only a matter of time before they find out Major (and thus Vaughn du Clark) is behind them, but watching them reluctantly work together was a real treat to watch. Blaine coming across a picture of Minor the dog was a great gasp-worthy moment. It’s one of those near-misses that iZombie has become so good at doing.
One big surprise was the mystery woman (who is actually credited as “Mystery Woman” on IMDB) leaving the envelope marked “Occupant” on Bozzio’s doorstep. She is also credited as Regina Sumner, though that doesn’t tell us much. While nothing was learned from her appearance, it provided a nice tease for what will hopefully be addressed next week.
Given less screen time this week was Major and Liv’s budding (or crumbling?) relationship? After beginning the episode with some optimism and a little bit of mutual masturbation (at least I think that’s what they had just done), Major slowly started to become bothered by Liv’s personality traits on Sid’s brain. His choice to go upstairs rather than approach Liv in the episode’s closing moments was puzzling, as it’s unclear why he s just not realizing he might not be able to handle her shifting personalities. This isn’t a new development, but maybe Sid’s brain was just a little too intense. Still, Major’s aggravation at Liv’s behavior came out of nowhere.
Ravi and Peyton had some relationship issues of their own as well, with Ravi breaking things off with Steph and Peyton flirting with Blaine. Steph seems like a pretty pointless character that was brought in an abandoned attempt by the writers to cause friction between Ravi and Peyton. This may prove to be a good thing for iZombie, since that could have gotten old real quick. It is a much wiser move to bring Blaine into the mix since he is already an established character for the series (and a lot more fun to watch than plain Jane Steph).
Television seasons can sometimes sag a little bit in the middle, but iZombie doesn’t seem to be following that trend. It was more slowly paced than the previous two episodes to be sure, but it was by no means a slog to get through. “Abra Cadaver” provided a highly entertaining mystery-of-the-week and nudged many plots forward to their eventual endgame.
- Chapter Titles of the Week: Heavy Petting; Trompe Card; Presto Mortem; Strange Deadfellows; The Lady Materializes; A Rose By Another Name; An Ace Up the Sleeve. Call me immature, but I liked Heavy Petting.
- Brain Recipe of the Week: Honestly, I couldn’t tell. First it looked like stir fry, and then it looked like meatballs. Any ideas?
- Seriously, where have Gilda and Vaughn du Clark been? I’m guessing iZombie is saving them for the third act of the season, but their absence has been glaring.
- “This is the best brain ever! I almost want to start killing magicians so it never ends.” -Ravi really is the best, isn’t he?
- “She’s rolling hard on ‘death-obsessed magician.’ It’ll pass.” -I like that he calls it “rolling,” as if the effects are similar to that of MDMA.
- “There was that time her eyes turned red and she killed someone. Thinkin’ that was probably a one-off.” -I love how Peyton nonchalantly delivered this line.
- “Did you eat Edgar Allan Poe?” -Blaine, saying what we’re al thinking.
- Ravi has twenty thirty Twitter followers, which is admirable.
- “Got a big night of British stuff ahead of us! Throwing darts, apologizing!” -Is apologizing a British stereotype? I’ve never heard that before.
- “I performed the autopsy! He is dead!” -Liv having to constantly reiterate this to Houdina was golden.
- “You’re bumming me out man.” -Blaine, after one of Liv’s goth monologues.
- “You killed the fourth man to walk on the moon?” “Please nobody cares about the fourth person to do something!”
- “…so is that a ‘yes’ you want a quesadilla? Or a no?”
- iZombie takes a break next week for Thanksgiving. See you all in two weeks! But first, a little preview of coming events:
A person learns a lot when they put together a list such as this. For instance, apparently, back in the 1960s, prominent lady filmmaker Ezra Stone directed twenty-seven episodes of The Munsters, more than any other person in the entirety of the show. Around the same time, Lela Swift directed a massive 588 episodes of Dark Shadows, a remarkable figure that would be impressive even in today’s world. However, some other shows that are currently on the air proved to be far less compelling, as American Horror Story, Scream Queens, Hannibal, Supernatural, and From Dusk Till Dawn (the T.V. series) are all listed as having zero female directors for their entire runtime. Luckily, since most of these shows are still running, there’s still time for them to fix the error of their ways, but isn’t it odd that television programs that aired about fifty years ago were more progressive in the advancement of female filmmakers than many of the programs that we all watch today?
Regardless of the reasons, it’s an interesting and important topic to shed light on, because it shows that just because a show is newer, or may rely on a large female demographic, doesn’t mean that it’s doing anything for ladies in Hollywood. Also, another point that needs to be mentioned is that although some of these other shows may feature a female director here and there, doesn’t mean that they’re branching out to find new, upcoming lady filmmakers in that particular field. Many of the same names kept popping up for multiple shows, which, although is undoubtedly exciting and well-deserved for those women, winds up being slightly disappointing in its variety of ladies standing behind the camera, since there are still so many worthy names that could be called upon for a shoot.
Despite the fact that some titles have chosen to forgo female directors, or simply haven’t hired one for work yet, it’s still thrilling to see women’s names pop up on so many shows that we genre fans have come to love, proving that there are still plenty of programmers out there getting it right. Although there are still far more male names that are credited than females, the foundation for the advancement of ladies in the industry has been cemented, and the only direction to move is forward. Women are finally starting to level out the workload behind the scenes, and that’s something to celebrate. Read on below, and help pay respect to the ones who are laying the groundwork for years to come, and then maybe, one day, hopefully, female filmmakers will become so prominent that they will have directed just as many episodes of television as their worthy counterparts.
1. “Zombo” (The Munsters) directed by Ezra Stone S2E22
There comes a moment in every father’s life when he has to accept that he is no longer his son’s number one role model. Herman Munster knew that eventually this would happen with Eddie, he just didn’t expect it to be so soon, or hurt him so badly. Herman may be nearly seven feet tall, but inside of his oversized chest is the heart of a child, which is why when he comes home from work, and the little boy who once ran to hug him now stares blankly into the boob tube at his new idol, Zombo, Herman falls back into old habits and winds up throwing a temper tantrum, stomping his feet like a little monster on the living room floor. Zombo is a television personality, who could possibly roped into the same circles as Elvira and the Crypt Keeper, with his macabre appearance, and playful, exaggerated speech. Grandpa tries to pull Herman out of his hole of self-pity through his usual magics, giving him a potion that temporarily alters his body to look more like Zombo, but when he presents his new “adorable” facade to Eddie and his friends, they make him feel even worse, by poking fun and calling him embarrassing. Adding insult to injury, Eddie has just won a contest to gain a bunch of prizes and meet Zombo in person, and take part in a live telecast of the show. It seems that Herman has officially lost the battle for the admiration of his son. That is, until Eddie visits the set of his favorite show and realizes that the creature he’s been looking up to is nothing more than a mere mortal in heavy makeup and a fancy looking cape. This is an interesting episode, not only because it shows a touching connection between Herman and his son, but also because it’s touching in an oddly sort of meta way. As Herman explains to Eddie how the duty of an actor is not necessarily to lie, but to entertain audiences in the art of make believe, it almost seems as if Herman is talking to us, the audience, and any young viewers who may be watching, and think of Herman as a real, living, breathing monster that just happened to stumble into their television sets.
Although Riley never quite penetrated the heart of Buffy fans quite like Angel or Spike did, in the end, he proved to be a crucial character. Buffy needed a big push to get over Angel and move on into adulthood, and while Parker only worsened her situation by furthering Buffy’s fear of opening herself up to the idea of love, Riley provided the tools needed to usher Buffy into a state of greater confidence, through her first truly healthy relationship. In this episode, Buffy, with Spike’s help, discovers Riley cheating on her with a vampire he paid to suck his blood; an act clearly meant to mirror a cheating man using drugs and prostitution. Once the honeymoon phase between Buffy and Riley is over, and the lingering problems start to truly bubble to the surface, an interesting perspective prevails that is rarely shown on dramatic shows of this nature: sympathy for the cheater. Marti Noxon takes a mature stance on a broken relationship by showing how more often than not, relationships don’t end because one person is downright evil, but because two people are driven to commit questionable actions as a result of trying circumstances. It’s certainly not okay that Riley cheated on Buffy, but this episode suggests a reason why he might have done it, and painfully, but intelligently, shows how the two were heading down separate paths already, and Riley’s betrayal merely sped up the timeline. The two weren’t right for each other, even if for a brief moment in time, their love for one another provided the necessary positive nourishment for each person’s inner growth.
3. “The Suicide King” (The Walking Dead) directed by Lesli Linka Glatter S3E9
This episode opens with a vicious battle scene, as an angry mob of Woodbury folk swarm around the Dixon brothers, while the Governor orders Merle and Daryl to “fight to the death”. Andrea stands on the sidelines and begs the Governor, a.k.a. Phillip, to stop, but he ignores her and continues to rally the crowd. The citizens even bring out biters on chains to up the ante, eyes roaring red with bloodlust. It seems that one of these men will not leave this ring alive, but just as they begin to fight, gunshots puncture the brains of the surrounding zombies, and tear gas floods the area, while Rick and his crew emerge from the fog, swooping in and stealing back their men back before escaping into the forest. Upon their rejoining with Michonne, Glenn, and Maggie in the woods, not everyone is happy to see Merle again. Merle offers up the secret that Andrea is with the Governor, but this little tidbit of information isn’t enough for the battered gang to roll out the welcome mat at their prison for their longstanding foe. Daryl says he understands, but he can’t let Merle go out into the world on his own again just when they’ve been reunited, so he takes off with his brother, and leaves his newfound family behind. Still unsure of Michonne’s intentions, the group tells her that she can accompany them to the prison to get Hershel to patch her up, but then she has to leave. All of the calm down and cautious dialogue has proven to be too much for a fed up Glenn to handle, and the next walker they come upon dies not by a gunshot wound to the head, but by the power of Glenn’s heel, as he stomps the zombie’s brains into a gooey pulp. Glenn has nearly gone mad with anger after the Governor sexually assaulted his girlfriend Maggie, and screams at Rick that he should have killed the lunatic when he had the chance. It’s an intense moment, and although Rick doesn’t understand exactly what happened to Maggie, he sympathizes with Glenn’s frustration over not being able to protect the one he loves. After all, Rick just lost his own wife, Lori, to the horrors of the apocalypse, and has yet to fully recover himself. That’s why when Tyreese and his crew show up at the prison asking for a place to stay, Rick terrifies them and sends them running, after he completely loses his marbles and begins hallucinating that Lori is staring down at his from the cells above. As Andrea tells the riled up camp back at Woodbury, they have to find the strength within themselves to carry on, just as they’ve always done. Unfortunately, Rick seems far too damaged from all of the trauma he’s endured as of late to open his heart to any newcomers, or even, at this point, the possibility of finding the strength to carry on.
Big things are happening down in Bon Temps, Louisiana. For starters, Bill in in the midst of making his very first prodigy, although it is against his will. Soon to be born baby vamp Jessica is kicked into a dirt hole by the heel of Pam’s pump, as Bill climbs in next to her, ready to be buried and complete the transition from Jess’ human life to her new one as a creature of the night. After staking Longshadow, the vampire who previously worked for and betrayed Eric at Fangtasia, Bill is ordered by the Authority to make a new vampire in his place, an act which he deems to be more of a curse than a gift of eternal life. As he wraps his arm around his unborn offspring, Bill broods deeply, only wishing to return to his lover Sookie and be done with his punishment. Meanwhile, Sookie sits at home on her couch next to Sam, who has agreed to protect her in Bill’s absence. The unmasked killer is hot on Sookie’s trail, and she has no idea where Bill is, or when he’ll return. Despite Sam’s recent romantic ties to Tara, it’s as clear as ever that he’s deeply in love with Sookie, and is going to use this opportunity to get as close to her as possible. Although Sookie recently skirmished with the killer face to face, it was under the shadow of darkness, and in her panic, Sookie failed to identify her wicked pursuer. However, in her sleep, Sookie remembers a detail from the inside of the killer’s brain, thanks to her trusty telepathy. Sook tells Sam that there was a brief memory that she picked up from the killer, of him attacking a woman wearing a name tag that read ‘Big Patty’s Pie House’. The two agree to investigate, and upon their arrival, meet a man who fills them in on the murdered waitress from Sookie’s visions. Apparently, the woman was notorious for hanging with vampires, and shortly after her death, her brother disappeared from sight. With a little struggle to remember, the man devouring pie after pie recalls that the brother’s name was Drew Marshall, and that the girl was killed by strangulation. On their way back to Bon Temps, the two stop by the local sheriff’s office, where they persuade a slow-minded deputy to fax a picture of Drew Marshall to the police station back home. While all of this is going on, Jason and his girlfriend Amy engage in less honorable activities through their shared V-addiction, as Amy tightens her hold on Jason through keenly-worded manipulation and home cooked meals. Just as it seems that their toxic relationship is plowing full steam ahead, however, the unknown killer strikes again, killing Amy in her sleep as she lies peacefully next to Jason. Believing himself to be the assassin, Jason thinks that he might have been the one to hurt Amy while he was in his drug-induced state, and immediately turns himself in to the law. Back at Sookie’s house, Bill finally returns to his loved one, after dumping the newly turned Jessica off onto Eric, and telling him that he’ll be in his debt. Sadly, this is not a happy return, as Bill stumbles upon Sam and Sookie kissing in her living room, and promptly attacks Sam, and infuriates Sookie. Fed up with men, Sookie swears them all off, and decides she’s not ready to dive into any relationship while the killer is still on the loose. Jason may be the one sitting in jail, but as the episode draws to a close, we see the picture of Drew Marshall has finally reached the police station in Bon Temps, as the killer is finally revealed as Rene Lenier, the man who changed names, moved towns, and continued his murderous rampage against all those who would dare dance with a vampire. It’s thrilling that such an integral episode would be placed in the hands of Nancy Oliver, the woman who not only directed this crucial moment in the True Blood timeline, but also wrote this important entry, as well. Through clever writing and an intriguing, slick vision, Nancy creates sympathy for Sookie and Jason, who manage to feel like two good southern kids just caught up in a bad situation.
Sleepy F.B.I. agent John Doggett wakes up in an abandoned warehouse in unknown Mexican territory to find a man stealing his shoe, but that’s not the only thing he’s lost. He chases the man down the street and the police get involved, but when they ask for the sleepy man’s papers, he doesn’t seem to have any. Instead, they ask him for his name, but for some reason, he can’t remember what it was. The police have no choice but to throw the man in jail while they figure out what to do with him, but as he sits there, he gets tiny bits of evidence of his past as he begins to experience small, scattered flashbacks involving a little boy. A stranger he meets in his cell offers to pay his bail if he helps with an unspecified job, and although reluctant, the man figures he has nothing left to lose, and agrees. Even though he made a deal, as soon as his bail is paid the man takes off to track down the homeless man who stole his shoe and see what he can learn about his true identity. He finds the man drugged up and dreary, but just coherent enough to discuss how the man came to forget all of his memories and wind up alone, without identification in the middle of Mexico. The man doesn’t learn much for his troubles, but it’s not a completely useless journey, as the homeless man calls him “desaparecido” and hands him a tiny silver skull. Since he’s run out of options, the man returns to the one who freed him from jail, and agrees to start working for him immediately. Meanwhile, in America, the F.B.I. tries to expand its task force in Mexico to find their lost agent, but are turned down. Apparently, agent John Doggett was investigating a case in Mexico before he abruptly disappeared without a trace. Agents Dana Scully and Monica Reyes are told that they can help find Doggett as much as they want, as long as they act solely from the northern side of the border. Ignoring their orders, Reyes treads into foreign territory to find her lost partner, relying only on her intuition, her Mexican background, and a tip from the Marine Corps about an unknown man calling about the details of his wartime tattoo. While she searches, John Doggett fixes a broken bus for the man and his friend, Nestor, who helped him get out of jail. John complies with any requests for small odd jobs to be done here and there, but he refuses to get involved with any criminal activity that might be going on. Little does he know, he’s right in the heart of it. Once the two are alone, Nestor attempts to take out John, foolishly calling him “F.B.I. right before he pulls the trigger. John manages to outwit his attacker, and learns that he is “desparecido” — one of the disappeared ones. Apparently, the Cartel erased his memory, just like all of the other stragglers, and plans to use him to run illegal immigrants and drugs across the border under he gets caught or killed. Agent Reyes finally arrives, ready to rescue John, but of course, he doesn’t remember her, so it takes some time before he trusts her. Doggett tells Reyes that he keeps having a strange memory play out of a little boy in his head, who he assumes must be his son, and asks where he is. Reyes’ eyes well with tears as she carefully informs John that his son was abducted and murdered years ago, and that’s how the two of them came to meet, since she helped him on the case. John suddenly remembers, and soon becomes too wrapped up in his own broken emotional state to fight back against the Mexican police outside of the barn, who are now shooting at them, assuming that they are merely workers for the Cartel. Reyes begs John to carry on, and he finds it in himself to push past the pain and help them escape. John tracks down the man responsible for erasing his memory, and leads the F.B.I. to his door, claiming now that he remembers everything. The Cartel leader, a strange sort of memory vampire, seems less defeated, and more confused, as he asks John in a genuine manner, why he would fight so hard to remember that pain when it has caused him so much grief. John simply responds, “Because it’s mine”. In one of the most impactful episodes of the final season (written by the brilliant Breaking Bad helmer Vince Gilligan), director Michelle MacLaren relays an important message through the medium of horror: in the end, we have no control over our life, and all we really own are our memories, and good or bad, they belong to us, and make us who we are.
Eddie and his buddy Hat have been dying for a chance to scare little Miss Goodie-two-shoes, Courtney King, for as long as they can remember. For their latest educational project, Courtney has written up a piece on the Mud Monster of Muddy Creek, a fictitious monster that supposedly haunts the local swamp not too far from school grounds. Courtney claims that through her research, and facing her fears, she has overcome her obstacles, and now she’s not afraid of anything. Threatened by her academic success and her holier-than-now attitude, the boys decide to put this claim to the test, and begin taunting Courtney in the hopes of making her scream, and for once, letting her look like the foolish one, instead of them. It starts somewhat small, with the boys putting a harmless, although frightening, little garden snake in Courtney’s lunch bag, but their attempt to find a weakness in their pristine classmate falls flat when Courtney picks up the snake and coos at it like it were one of her very own children. Next, the boys decide to bring out the big guns, and opt for a tarantula this time, which they plan to drop in Courtney’s hair, and watch her shriek with horror as they point and laugh. The plan seems solid, but when they enter the school laboratory and box the spider up in a plastic container, they hear footsteps and chatter, and realize that the teacher is coming. Quickly, the boys run and hide in the classroom locker, and watch through the shutters as Courtney begs for more schoolwork like the bookworm that she is. Suddenly, the boys realize that the lid to their container has popped open, and the hairy tarantula is slowly and silently crawling its way up Eddie’s pant leg. As soon as the teacher leaves, the boys holler and shout for help, and of course, it is Courtney who frees them from this death trap, opening the door and picking up the tarantula with ease as she gently pets it and explains that the tarantula, like the snake, is merely a misunderstood creature. Angrily, Eddie obsesses over a new plan to frighten Courtney, and Hat decides that the best option is to go bigger, with a real life Mud Monster of Muddy Creek. Well, at least, he can throw some mud on himself and jump out and scare her. Eddie and Hat dare Courtney to meet them at the swamp after school, and as she rolls her eyes, Courtney agrees, hoping that these boys might finally learn their lesson. The boys await Courtney in the muddy swamp, as Hat covers Eddie in the sticky pale brown substance, and tells Eddie to hide while he fetches Courtney. Their plan backfires, however, when a real Mud Monster shows up, and chases them through the fog. It seems that all hope is lost, but just then, Courtney shows up and saves the day, as she lectures the Mud Monster for scaring the little boys, and goes on and on and on with her speechifying until the looming sun dries the monster into a solid, immovable beast, while the boys cower behind her, unable to believe their luck. In one of the more hilarious episodes of the Goosebumps television series, the audience gets to sit back and watch as stereotypes are switched, and the two boys wind up scaring themselves far more than the pretty girl that they intended.
Jonas has been working consistently for forty-seven years. Not a single sick day taken, not a single absent week day, not a moment to breathe or notice his loving wife and her odd habits, until now. After nearly five decades of dedicated work, unforgiving hours, and little pay, Jonas is finally – unwillingly- retiring. Perhaps it was the constant grind of employment, or the distance that’s stubbornly grown between them, mostly due to pure negligence, but it wasn’t until Jonas hung up his old routine that he finally started to realize what was going on in his very own home. Apparently, while Jonas has been on the clock, his wife bided her time by keeping company with neighborhood animals. Lots and lots of neighborhood animals. In fact, she’s grown so accustomed to sharing space with four-legged beings that when it’s her husband sitting at the kitchen table, she winds up feeding him cat food in his sandwich. Anita hides Jonas’ pill in a brownie, serves steak to the dog, and rests comfortably on the front porch with a squirrel atop her head. Things have clearly gotten out of hand during his many busy years, but now that he can devote his energy to the problem, Jonas has found a way to kill two birds with one stone, by discovering a new hobby, and tackling his wifes’ hysteria, all through the same method of execution: taxidermy. To her horror, Anita descends into the basement to find all of her children in the same stiff state. Cats, chipmunks, fish, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and dogs, all with the same fixed expression, staring back at her with lifeless eyes, as Jonas stands there grinning, proudly presenting his complete collection. Little does Jonas know, paybacks are hell, and he’s about to join the ranks of Anita’s stuffed friends, as she exacts her revenge upon the man who stolen her only joy, and drowned it in his ever-growing misery. Interestingly enough, the director of this episode is Mary Lambert, who prior to directing a segment of Tales From the Crypt, had only released her other project featuring the reanimation of animals, Pet Sematary, a few months before.
The trouble starts when Darrin sprains his ankle late one night. He’s on his way to double check that the back door is locked before he heads to bed, when he takes a tumble down the stairs that lands him in bed with his foot elevated for the next few days. While he’s resting, Samantha decides to make life a little easier on him (and honestly, herself, too), by arranging it so the house will cooperate with him during his recovery. For the very first time, Darrin gets a taste of witchcraft. It starts out small, as Darrin uses magic to make himself a sandwich in the kitchen that he then floats upstairs to reach him in bed, but soon, Darrin grows greedy, just like Samantha’s mother Endora warned Samantha he might. Once a man entirely against Samantha practicing witchcraft under his roof, Darrin now uses the wriggle of Sam’s nose to put the laundry away, make a fur coat appear on her shoulders, and even go so far as to quit his job and live off of Sam’s magical powers forever, traveling the globe with the aid of spells. It isn’t until an anniversary present that Darrin bought weeks prior for Sam arrives in the mail one afternoon that Darrin realizes his mistake. The fact that Darrin put in the hard work to buy Sam a thoughtful little watch and a bouquet of flowers meant more to her than any fur coat that he could make appear out of thin air in a quick, effortless motion. As Darrin says, “It might be a good idea to worry about where your next meal is coming from”. Using magical powers all the time might ensure an easy, worry-free life, but in the end, cutting corners doesn’t always equal happiness. Darrin realizes that the struggles, worries, and challenges at work weren’t the things keeping him from living his life, those were the things that made up his life, and without them, he wasn’t really living. This is such a sweet little episode that shows how although Samantha’s powers may seem advantageous, being a regular human has its perks, too. Also, interestingly enough, although many of the episodes lay heavy on the humor, and this one has its jokes, too, it’s a bit more grounded and sympathetic in its portrayal of Samantha, and the life she’s chosen. Darrin’s not the only one who comes to understand just how hard it must be for Sam to not use her powers all the time, but the audience learns what it must be like for her, as well.
After being bludgeoned with the killer right before he dragged off Will to an unknown location, Piper awakens to find herself alone in the abandoned warehouse that she came to with Will to confront Brooke’s father. A little later on, Piper arrives at the local high school, and takes the gang to see the writing on the wall, a.k.a. the bloody message left behind by the killer in the warehouse. Piper, Brooke, and Jake go outside to give Emma a moment to herself, and Emma receives an obscene phone call from the killer himself, as he offers up clues concerning Will’s whereabouts. With Noah’s help, Emma tracks Will’s cell phone to an abandoned bowling alley, and Emma has no choice but to walk straight into the trap set up and waiting for her. Meanwhile, Brooke visits her dad at his place of business, and confronts him again about her mother and the videotape of him dragging what looked like a bagged body to a cooler in the garage. She also tells him that Will has gone missing, and she knows for a fact that he was the last person that Will spoke to before he disappeared, since Piper was there hiding in the corner and watched it all go down. Suddenly, Jake steps out from behind the door, pressuring Brooke’s father further to confess, but he still denies any guilt over her mother’s departure, or Will’s disappearance. Frustrated, Brooke storms out to meet up with Emma, and Jake follows suit, bearing a sinister look of achievement all the while. Once reunited, Brooke and Jake promise Emma that they’ll help her find Will, and Noah is coerced into tagging along. The four join together to embark on this dangerous mission, and walk up to the abandoned entertainment center like little soldiers determined to retrieve their prisoner of war. After searching around and finding nothing, the gang heads back to the guts of the alley, where they find Will tied up, stabbed, and out cold. Emma manages to wake Will up, and the four are quickly confronted by the killer, who terrorizes them into submission, swinging his sword through the opening in the door, in the hopes of grazing a victim in his wild attack. The group is separated and stalked, and although police arrive in time to save them all, they don’t escape completely unscathed. Jake is stabbed with a large Bowie knife (which oddly enough, he brought along), and Will can barely stand, but they fall under they fall under the protection of the men in uniform, and find temporary peace in their rescue. As the camera slowly moves from circle to circle in the parking lot, we are given a glimpse of each character in their fragile state, and almost asked to decide, “Is this person the killer?” “Is this person capable of murder?” “Could it be her?” “Could it be him?” in one of the most Scream-esque moments of the entire series. While the majority of the show is decent in its portrayal of a slasher flick, this episode, above all others (aside from the finale just because of the big reveal) feels the most like a Wes Craven story. Everyone is equally suspicious, and it’s harder than ever to predict who the killer really is, it features some of the scariest moments in the season, and the final scene purely echoes the opening shot of the original film, while still keeping its own identity, in a splatter fest that’s just as unhinged as some of the more brutal moments in the filmography. Also, hats off to Leigh Janiak for actually giving the actors things to do with their hands while they’re stating their lines, instead of standing still like hot little statues. It’s refreshing to watch these people act like people.
A boy needs his mother. At least, that’s what Norma Bates wants her favorite son, Norman, to wholly and firmly believe. The minute that Norma learns that Norman has gained interest in a pretty, popular girl from his high school, named Bradley, Norma’s lack of control over the situation drives her mad, she as wildly drives all over town, gaining gossip from Norman’s less threatening female friend Emma, and spying on Bradley as she participates in her weekly yoga class. The idea that Norman could be better off without her is infuriating to Norma, and if she can’t prove it herself that Norman doesn’t need anyone but her, she’ll simply have to drive away any creature that shows Norman the least bit of love and affection, whether it be a hot young thing from school, his older rebellious brother Dylan, or a sweet little stray dog that Norman’s taken a liking to that’s been hanging around the motel. Some mothers may look at these creatures and express gratitude for getting their loner sons out of the house, but Norma only sees them as the wedge that will undeniably drive her and her baby apart, and that’s just unacceptable. Despite Norman’s initial rejection to his mother’s suffocating parenting skills, in the end, he comes to see things through her sick, lonely eyes, after the dog dies in the road and the girl he’s been pining after rejects him. It seems that everyone has betrayed Norman in some way, shape or form, but when he drags his feet back home, eyes wet with tears, you better believe his mommy is waiting at the doorstep with open arms, ready to forgive his temporary independence, and welcome Norman back into his old sheltered life.
Jean Louise McArthur wasn’t exactly society’s idea of a stand up model citizen. Brought under the care of Fisher family after accidentally electrocuting herself in the bathtub with the help of her devious cat, Jean was a notorious porn star. Famous for appearing in a myriad of adult films, Jean gained a reputation for the impressive amount of work she had done in her lifetime, and the lengths to which she’d go for her art. Upon learning who she was, everyone in the funeral home is quick to judge Jean for her provocative ways, but the fact is, Jean lived her life in an open and loving manner, which is more than many members of the Fisher family can say. Ruth and her daughter Claire haven’t seen eye to eye on anything since the father of the house, Nathaniel, passed away recently. As Claire staggers through her later teenage years, she pulls away from her mother more and more, as a result of the inevitable distance that grows between them as a result of Claire’s blossoming youth, and the pain that the two women still feel in the wake of Nathaniel’s death. Ruth keeps reaching out, but Claire can’t help but shy away from her advances. Meanwhile, Nate and Brenda start to encounter trouble in their relationship just as things start to really get serious. As the daughter of two probing therapists, Brenda is done being examined, and finds it difficult to expose the inner workings of her heart to Nate, because she can’t stand to be so vulnerable. They aren’t the only ones having a lovers’ quarrel, though. For every step that Nate’s brother David takes forward in his relationship with Keith, he regresses with a giant leap backward. Although David finally, excitedly comes out to Nate, he disrupts his progress by telling Keith that they can’t attend the same church together, because David isn’t ready to let the whole world know that he’s gay. Keith has been patient, but for two grown men in their forties, this romance is moving pretty slow, and Keith isn’t sure how much longer he can put up with the pace. Although they all vary in context, all three of these relationships struggle to move forward because one person is pulling away. Claire, Brenda, and David are all afflicted with fear and self-loathing, unable to open themselves up to the one thing in their lives that could possibly end all of their suffering, or at least make it easier to bear. In the end, some of these people may have frowned upon adult film star Jean Louise McArthur, but she loved herself, and lived her life the way she wanted to — happy and accessible. Jean laid it all on the table, with complete honesty. She was, as the title of the episode suggests, an open book, and there’s something to be learned from her ways, even if from a distance they may appear less than tactful. Kathy Bates displays the Fisher family as imperfect beings, but still completely deserving of love, and does it with such compassion, humility, and grace, that it becomes a real head-scratcher as to why she hasn’t done any directing gigs since 2006.
12. “Blood Brothers” (The Vampire Diaries) directed by Liz Friedlander S1E20
The twentieth episode of the series marks a monumental moment in the show, as Elena learns how Stefan and Damon were originally turned into vampires, and why Damon still holds a grudge against Stefan after all these years. As Stefan wallows in his own misery in the present, locked up and sweating out the human blood in his system, his mind flashes back to the past, where he remembers the time that he and Stefan tried to rescue Katherine from her captors, but were shot dead as soon as they lifted her from her imprisonment. Well, at least the two brothers believed that they died that night. Stefan awakens the next morning to find that although he wears a blood-stained shirt, the skin beneath is completely healed. Confused, Stefan speaks with Emily, Katherine’s second in command, who informs him that Katherine had been feeding her vampire blood to Stefan for weeks, and merely compelled him to forget. She had also been feeding Damon her blood, but he drank it willingly, so there was no need to conjure away his memories. Emily also tells Stefan that she used her magics to conjure up two rings for the immortal boys, which would forever protect them from sunlight, and allow them to walk around during in the day and blend in with the breathers. It may seem that all of Stefan’s problems are temporarily solved, but upon speaking with Damon, he learns that his eternal life will be cut short, as Damon lets him know that there’s no reason to go on living because Katherine is dead. Damon woke up and watched her being burned alive in a church by her kidnappers the night before, a horrible fate for the one he loves that has left him unwilling to go on. Stefan agrees to end his life, too, but first, he pays a visit to their father, who only shows repulsion towards his undead son, and reveals that it was he who shot him in the dark on that horrible night, willfully killing his own two sons. Unable to cope with the fact that his boys were running around with vampires, Giuseppe Salvatore exclaims that Stefan and Damon were dead to him the minute that they began courting Katherine. A heartbroken Stefan still attempts to bid farewell to his father, but Giuseppe attacks Stefan, causing a skirmish that quickly ends with unintentional bloodshed, and a weak Stefan feeding off of his father’s wounds. Newly, fully turned, and desperate for his brother to join him, Stefan kidnaps a young girl, whom he bites in front of Damon, and pushes the two together, knowing full well that Damon won’t be able to resist his ignore his hunger pangs any longer. Back in the present, when Elena finally learns the whole truth about what happened, she’s shocked, but not enough to turn her back on Stefan, who grows more self destructive by the hour. Many lifetimes worth of guilt have caught up to Stefan, who is now ready to end it, once and for all, and rid the world of him and his heinous ways. It is only through Elena’s love and relentless urging to carry on that Stefan finds the strength within himself to keep fighting, and agrees to not give up just yet. Although Elena and Stefan have certainly grown closer in this episode, she has become more aware of the man and the monster within her beau, and also, grows more sympathetic of her constant pursuer, Damon.
In this episode we get a look into Frankenstein’s Creature’s backstory, and learn that Victor Frankenstein abandoned his first creation upon his birth. Sparking a story that resembles The Hunchback of Notre Dame as much as it does Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this portrayal of Victor’s creation features him cursed to endure an isolated existence in an empty apartment complex, peering out of a high window at a buzzing city below. Apparently, when the Creature was first born, he reacted so violently to the pain of new life that he frightened a naive little Victor, who ran away and never returned to see what had become of his first born. Surrounded by mountains of poetry novels, the Creature found eloquence in the empty hours alone up in that flat, immersed in the works of the only mentors he knew. After he felt he had a strong enough grasp of the English language, the Creature finally braved the streets of London, and was promptly beaten to a bloody pulp. However, this horrid act leads to a gesture of kindness, when a stranger stumbles upon him in an alleyway, treats him to dinner, and offers him a job as a stage rat in the local theatre. At first, the Creature performed his duties with glee, tinkering with ropes and pulleys backstage, all while watching the actors die onstage, and come back the next evening to die again. The creature finds comfort in their shared resurrection. However, as time passes and the Creature watches stories of romance acted out in the theatre, he begins to long for a love of his own, and approaches his old creator with the wild idea of creating an undead companion to keep him comfort. Director Dearbhla Walsh beautifully captures the romanticism of the Victorian era, and the Creature’s idealized notion of an undead companion, and the inevitable love that he honestly believes would blossom between him and his reanimated bride. Not only do we get a glimpse into the Creature’s backstory, but into Victor’s, as well, as we learn that his obsession with death grew out of the loss of his mother at an early age. Both the Creature and the creator, in their own ways, attempt to express love and improve love through the use of resurrection, and both learn that the consequences of their actions far outweigh their good intentions.
When ZombiU shed its Wii U exclusivity and the awkwardly tacked-on vowel that identified it as such so it could be remastered for PC, PS4 and Xbox One as Zombi, I was like a ghoul at an all-you-can-eat brain buffet. It had been on the short list of Wii U exclusives that I’ve wanted to play for three years — alongside Bayonetta 2 and the still-fresh Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water — so it felt good being able to scratch it off that list.
It didn’t take long for that warm feeling to be replaced by frustration.
Zombi isn’t a remaster, it’s a port. I hoped it would be comparable to what Resident Evil HD was to the Resident Evil GameCube remake, but what we got was more like Resident Evil 4 for Xbox 360 vs. Resident Evil 4 for PC. In other words, it was moderately disappointing.
It’s still a lovely game crammed with smart ideas that go a long way in separating it from the horde of zombie games that continues to grow each month, and despite a disappointing “next-gen” debut, it may still have some life left yet behind those cold, dead eyes.
This modicum of hope comes from the recent announcement that Zombi will be getting a retail release on January 21 in Europe. It doesn’t sound like much, but one could see this as a sign that Ubisoft is testing the game’s sequel potential by watching how it performs as a retail product. And if that doesn’t happen, we may still get something out of it should it perform well enough to warrant retail releases in other territories, such as ‘MERICA.
The wait is almost over for the first, and likely last, expansion for From Software’s unforgiving masterwork, Bloodborne. We’ve had plenty time to prepare by now, and with The Old Hunters arriving next week, I figured we could give the locals of Yharnam a break while we take a moment to enjoy some quality cosplay.
Clearly, Russian cosplayer Marat Zaborovskiy was Bloodborne to do this.
The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus is still confident in Silent Hills, a series reboot that would’ve given Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro (Crimson Peak) the opportunity to breathe some new life into the ailing franchise before Konami canned it in April.
After a decade’s worth of middling games that weren’t able to rejuvenate the series, Silent Hills was the last real chance for it to be relevant again. In a desperate, and necessary, attempt to revive the project, a petition was created in the hopes that it might accrue enough signatures to get Konami to reverse their decision. 190,000 signatures later and we’re still waiting.
And that’s why we have Norman Reedus.
“I’m super bummed that that happened back in Japan,” explained a sad Reedus in a recent interview with IGN. “I have faith. I have faith that we, the three of us, can do something else.”
That faith, it seems, comes from the response its cancellation received from the community. Gamers are known to be a passionate bunch, for better and for worse. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” he continued. “Petitions with a hundred thousand people that signed it, petitions to please make it happen, that’s crazy. That’s a crazy fanbase for not just that video game but also those people making that video game, and for me to jump on that truck with them, I was like, ‘Holy balls. It has to happen. You need to do this.'”
Holy balls indeed.
What happened to Silent Hills left many folks — including the demigods who would’ve collaborated on it — bewildered, outraged, or both. Reedus seems more confused than upset, and then there’s Guillermo del Toro, who told us just last month that it “makes no fucking sense at all.”
I’m sure Kojima has the feels too, though I wouldn’t dare use my fragile human brain to try and comprehend them. I’d probably end up like these guys if I did. So instead, I’ll let Reedus take us out.
“Hopefully they’ll come to some sort of agreement and that happens, or we do something very similar that’s different. I don’t know. I have faith that we’re going to do something though because it just seems like it was one of those things that needs to happen. It’s like destiny, it needs to happen.”
Horror movies have created the best monsters in cinema. That’s not an opinion, by the way. That’s just plain old fact. The Universal Monsters, King Kong, Godzilla, and the wide range of iconic slashers that includes Freddy, Jason, Michael, etc… Horror doesn’t skimp on monsters and that’s why it’s such a fun imaginative genre.
Out of all these awesome monsters, which one do you think you’d be? Based upon your personality, the below quiz will try and figure out the delightful abomination that best fits you!
My monster was “Brundlefly”, which reads:
1987. Seth Brundle accidentally combines himself with a fly and begins to mutate thanks to his own machine. Dies, but leaves behind a son who also becomes a fly creature.
Word is spreading on Twitter that Michael C. Gross, the man who created the infamous “No Ghosts” logo for Ghostbusters has passed away after a battle with cancer. We also reached out to someone who explained that they have been working with Gross recently and they confirmed his passing. He was 70 years old.
Gross was the art director for National Lampoon magazine for several years and also acted as producer on films such as Heavy Metal, Kindergarten Cop, Twins, and more.
His logo for Ghostbusters has become one of the most iconic images in the world, one that nearly everyone knows upon sight. It was used heavily in merchandising, video games, and cartoons based off the 1984 supernatural comedy film. The first film was a box office smash, becoming one of the most successful comedies of the 80’s and cementing the film’s place in film history. The sequel, which was released in 1989, fared nearly as well and still remains a beloved sequel.
We send our condolences to his friends and family. Rest in peace, Mr. Gross. You ain’t afraid of no ghosts indeed.
— Ghostbusters Dot Net (@GhostbustersNet) November 17, 2015
Friday the 13th has come and gone, and that can only mean one thing: I can stop writing about the Friday the 13th: The Game Kickstarter. The game’s crowdfunding ended on Friday, three days after it reached its goal of raising at least $700,000. In total, over 12,218 backers donated $823,704, enough to unlock three stretch goals.
The additional funding will equip Jason with three more executions inspired by the films, including the classic head crush — easily one of my all-time favorites. I’m sure that execution will be particularly calming to Jason. I would understand if he’s a wee bit irritable after missing out on the opportunity to partake in more space murder. Alas, the Jason X-inspired stretch goals would’ve required another $4.5M+ in funding.
In celebration of a wildly successful crowdfunding effort, the folks at Gun Media have shared a brief look at how the game is shaping up so far, as well as a new piece of concept art.
Friday the 13th: The Game is funded, but I’d still recommend bookmarking its Kickstarter page so you can keep up with its development. I’ll also be covering it here, of course.
I love The Walking Dead. A lot of people, it seems, love The Walking Dead, as an entity. It’s a slow-moving freight train of a thing, barreling into and over everything it encounters. It is a hulking horror Harry Potter. A zombie Star Wars. The comic book spawned a TV series, which spawned a spinoff and several video games.
The most recent game is a tie-in called The Escapists: The Walking Dead, which combines the droll horror of The Walking Dead with the claustrophobia of the indie hit The Escapists.
On paper, it sounds like a wonderful collaborative idea. The Walking Dead is a zombie story with a long tail, very often about the act of surviving long-term and rebuilding society after a zombie apocalypse, and The Escapists involves surviving within the walls of a prison. Sounds like a match made in a hellish, post-apocalyptic wasteland.
However, with tedious objectives, a halfhearted crafting system, and a non-existent story, The Escapists: The Walking Dead doesn’t quite satisfy what either type of fan might be looking for.
The Escapists: The Walking Dead’s puzzle / survival sim set-up follows the show’s main protagonist, Rick Grimes, through several of the comic’s / TV show’s more famous scenarios. You’re given a primary goal to accomplish (e.g. clear out the barn of all zombies, find the main generator), and must prepare your fellow survivors to aid in completing the task.
It is an officially-licensed title, so fans of the series will be treated to plenty of familiar little touches, from character names to particular plot lines.
In the course of completing the large-scale objectives, players must maintain smaller, more daily routines and complete quests to keep the zombie hordes at bay. I never played The Escapists, but it was well-loved in the “indie” community, but after learning a little about the game, it becomes more clear why The Escapists: The Walking Dead is structured in its very particular way.
The first game took place in a prison, where tasks are regimented and mandatory, and it almost seems like the same should be true in the world of The Walking Dead, but the analogy breaks down and reveals the game’s flaws rather than obscures them.
The world of The Walking Dead is almost like a prison. But it is not a prison. And the difference is much more meaningful than the game wants you to believe. I’m sure you would imagine that the survivors in a zombie apocalypse would attempt to nourish a sense of the mundane, the obligatory, through keeping up rules and the minutiae of everyday life. But that doesn’t necessarily translate to a compelling gaming experience.
Players in the first level, for example, are required do laundry. In the abstract, I understand how that might be practical during an eschatological catastrophe, but it’s problematic in this game for a few reasons. First of all, it deters exploration, because players who fail to meet their daily objectives get penalized, and the threat of a zombie attack increases.
In the metaphorical sense, it would follow that a pack of survivors not keeping up with the day-to-day would invite a zombie attack, but there is almost no direct correlation in this game with, say, doing laundry or cultivating food and the heightened prospect of an attack. I also want to mention that players can go to the gym and work out in each level, and I’m not saying Rick Grimes has never hit a treadmill in all the 150-plus issues of the comic I’ve read, but it just seems oddly and vividly out of place.
Secondly, the daily burdens, like supply runs and working in the kitchen, do not directly benefit or hamper the experiences of the group. That would be an interesting wrinkle in the system Team17 devised. It’s not like working or not working do anything but affect the zombie meter.
They tether the player to a certain location for a certain period of time, but they don’t serve an actual, functional purpose within the game. But what they don’t do is affect the amount of food the players are allowed, or whether or not the players are able to dress themselves in fresh clothes. They are taken from outmoded 8-bit ideas of how game mechanics should function, but The Escapists doesn’t have the ambition to tie everything together in a meaningful way.
The combat, especially where close quarters are concerned, is kind of a joke. Even though it’s probably supposed to be true that fighting off zombies as a single player should be difficult, but it’s just not fun whatsoever. Nor is it difficult in a satisfying way.
The more frustrating part of the combat is that it is imprecise. If you get attacked by a zombie and you’re alone, it doesn’t really matter, because the life meter on the zombie tells you if you’re hitting it or not. Work with a fellow survivor, and it’s nearly impossible to tell if you’re hitting the target with a melee weapon.
The sound effect fires off for a weapon strike whether or not you hit a target, so it’s really difficult to tell what’s going on. Considering that the penalty can be annoying, it makes combat much less enjoyable, to the point that you try to avoid it as much as possible.
To put a finer point on it, let’s say (a) you’re in the middle of combat and (b) there are a few zombie bodies lying around. You click the right mouse button to attack, in most cases. Well, the right mouse also picks up zombie bodies, so if one of them is in your way, then you might incidentally pick one of them up instead of attacking another zombie. It’s completely broken.
The crafting system, too, feels perfunctory in a disappointing way. In most games, the crafting system’s purpose is to help players expand and evolve their surroundings, but the crafting system in The Escapists: TWD only serves to give players items or food, usually. It is less sophisticated than most other survival games, even those with a relatively modest scope.
Sure, there are ways of upgrading items and weapons, but very often players will find what they need in the wild. You might add onto a shotgun, which is helpful, but there are just as many worthless crafting items in the world, too. There is very little to be developed, and very few items require multiple levels of crafting. It’s a pretty simple system, which leaves little to the imagination.
What passes for a story in The Escapists: TWD are scenarios from the show / comics and random lines from the game. The players, even though required to work together, have no real sense of communication. When meeting for breakfast, for example — a REQUIREMENT in the game — players spout non sequiturs but do not actually communicate. There are no dialogue options, and players are merely recruited for minor missions through a simple button press.
Not only that, but there are “essential survivors,” who, if they die, the game’s over. You have to start the scenario over, from the beginning. Nothing goes against the whole idea of The Walking Dead more than this point. Rick Grimes aside, there has never been such a thing as an essential survivor in the world Robert Kirkman created, so having the game stop at a player’s death and automatically restart could not be further from what The Walking Dead is all about.
To make things even stranger, if you, Rick Grimes, die, no big deal. You start over the next morning and continue on with the mission at hand. Your death is most inconsequential. There is almost no penalty for dying, either, which, too, seems to go against the logic of the this world.
It’s all old-school, but not in a very positive way. With a different design, something interesting could have been made of The Escapists: TWD.
I imagine this game is for fans of either survival-based crafting games or fans of The Walking Dead, but I can’t imagine why anyone would choose this game over one of the other good survival games out there: The Long Dark, The Forest, Minecraft, Terraria, the list goes on and on.
The Final Word: All things told, I think I understand why people would want to play a game like The Escapists: The Walking Dead, but I don’t think this is the game that people who would want this game actually want. Wait for The Walking Dead: Michonne, instead.
Frederick Raynal has the pedigree to make one hell of a horror game. The French-born game developer cut his teeth on both Alone in the Dark and Alone in the Dark 2 before moving onto various projects outside of the genre throughout the 90s and 00s.
Well, Raynal is back with a new stealth-horror endeavor called 2Dark, which asks players to rescue kidnapped children from the erstwhile lairs of serial killers. Judging by the announcement trailer, it will entail a hardened P.I.-type character to infiltrate the killers’ domiciles and pluck innocent children from their midst, all the while keeping them safe.
It looks as though it might play quite a bit like Monaco, one of my personal favorite games from the last few years. The light / dark mechanics look to be interesting, as does the art style. Mock-ups of the killers make them look like stereotypes picked from throughout the genre and mashed together to give them some flare.
What makes the premise interesting is the level of danger the game places the children in. See, the kids are expendable, which doesn’t seem, on its face, to be all too risque. I, myself, just finished beating a game which took pleasure in murdering dunderheaded teenagers in a whole host of inventive ways.
But these are kids. As a rule, they shouldn’t perish in a video game, not in the manner this game suggests. To extend the danger, the protagonist is not exempt from killing the children, either. It’s a tactic meant to push players to be cautious and sparing in how they use weapons in the game. A stray bullet, after all, could take out one of the tykes in 2Dark
The game is currently in a paid beta, and you can request access directly from the web site here. The beta itself is 20,00 EUR, so it’s not a cheap one to tinker around with. It’s scheduled for a 2016 release, though no day and date has been given yet.
Our love of the Jurassic Park movies is pretty well known here on Bloody-Disgusting. And another thing that we love to see is people expressing and sharing their creative talents. That’s why we’re pretty blown away by this incredible Lego diorama, which takes a scene from each film and puts them together in one display.
The first section shows the iconic moment when the two Jeeps drive through the “Jurassic Park” gate. The second, representing The Lost World shows the RV sequence with one of the two T-Rexes as well as the building where Kelly showed off her gymnastics skills in taking out a velociraptor. Jurassic Park 3‘s piece is the abandoned and decaying aviary that featured what is in my opinion the coolest scene of the movie. Lastly, there’s the now widely recognized Mosasaurus scene where it bursts from the water to eat a shark that was featured in trailers and TV spots galore.
The piece was a collaboration between Paul Trach and Markus Aspacher who, get this because it’s about to get crazy, live 600km away from each other! The two somehow coordinated the project together and showed it off at the Bricking Bavaria Convention where they won the Best In Show award.
You can see a slideshow of the diorama below.
“Witches…All of them witches!”
-Rosemary Woodhouse (Rosemary’s Baby, 1968)
There have been a number of creatures and demons that have slowly filled up the beefy bestiary of horror films through the years. Some of these monsters are constantly being turned to, never quite going out of fashion, while others have remained on the fringe for decades, waiting for their opportunity to be properly realized. Witches lie somewhere in the middle here and have had a somewhat complicated history in cinema. However, with the release of The Witch slowly edging closer and the film stirring up nearly universal acclaim so far, it seemed like a worthy endeavor to examine what has led us to this point and digging into the history of witches in horror cinema. Examining what films about witches have been trying to say through the years, if we’ve always been so forthcoming with them in horror films, or if their sudden power and our fascination with them has been a recent spell that’s been cast over the public.
Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages—the first recorded film about witches, released in 1922 by director Benjamin Christensen—tries to approach the topic from a place of understanding. While initially getting in depictions of witchcraft in art and culture of the time, the film’s main focus is to attempt to understand witchcraft. It’s not mystifying the area, but rather using it as an explanation for mental and psychological ailments at the time. While the film does have many dramatizations and depictions of witches and the devil, the film’s angle is more of a documentary with the intention of educating and correcting misinformation.
In spite of the controversy and banning that the film still saw, it’s fascinating that our first exposure to the creatures in film was not from a place of trying to scare one another, or create terrifying fiction, but rather shed light on the real world and use this horror to heal.
Beyond this the ‘60s was debatably the next big time period that saw cinema and horror becoming enchanted with the idea of witches with a number of films, most notably being Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, playing with the concept. Interestingly enough, the ’60s chose revenge to be the conduit at which it chose to explore witches. The aforementioned Rosemary’s Baby for instance involves Rosemary’s (Mia Farrow) husband making a pact with the devil and the dark side coming to collect its sacrifice in the form of their child. A lot of the revenge and witch side of the film is depicted through psychological trauma and the idea of this secret society of witches hiding underneath everyday life. This dark side of high society that’s covertly pulling the strings to take over the world.
Black Sunday and Witchfinder General get into the topic of revenge a lot more directly, with the former being about a witch returning beyond the grave 200 years later to exact vengeance on the descendants of those who wronged her. The film, which is the debut feature of Italian horror genius Mario Bava, appropriately chooses to capitalize on the more gruesome side of the occult, too. While Bava’s film interestingly nearly depicts its witches as vampires, what with all the blood drinking that goes down, it still deals with a fascination of the occult, and the idea of the past coming up to taint the present, a theme also present within Rosemary’s.
Witchfinder General looks at witches and revenge via an examination of a corrupt social order wherein witchfinders could just come into towns and torture confessions of witchcraft out of people. Much like Black Sunday, scenes here harken back to the 1600s to give witches context before indulging in extreme violence and sadistic torture. The boldest of the three, Witchfinder explores the idea of if there even are witches (which The Crucible—which is not horror, but also of this decade—is interested in), with it being more concerned about commenting on society’s ills, whereas the other films here are still trying to say something, but are also indulging the idea of witches, too. All of these pictures also effectively use witches as a veil to look at a broken society rather than being full-on horror movie monster antagonists at this point. While the ’60s helped usher in our perception of the occult in cinema, the ’70s greatly expanded on this.
Now that the public was at least familiar with witches, films could start beginning to use the icons in much more complex ways. Granted, what the ‘70s were trying to say with witches in cinema was largely a response to the conversation that the ‘60s brought up. Pivotal occult films from the era such as 1971’s both Blood on Satan’s Claw and The Devils carried heavy influences from Michael Reeves’ Witchfinder General. What the ‘70s was trying to say here with all of this was that now that previous films had introduced us to this evil, these movies could bring it forward, confront it, and get rid of it now that we know that it’s out there. Blood on Satan’s Claw examines this through a town coming under demonic possession, banding together, and killing the demonic beast that’s put them under this spell. The Devils, a fellow folk horror film also out of the UK, again puts the power in a naïve, scared society that responds to rumors of a priest being accused of witchcraft and the public circus created being more of the point.
Arguably the most prolific, well-known feature on witches to rise out of the ‘70s though was rising auteur, Dario Argento’s, Suspiria from 1977. While it helped close out the decade and would remain in people’s consciousness, the film has still maintained its famed reputation to this day, being considered one of the more definitive films on the topic. Set in a ballet academy rather than a suspicious village, Suspiria continues the theme of dragging this darkness out into the open, but rather than it letting suspicions and accusations fuel its violence, people here are getting straight up murdered by witches, with there being a rather high body count in the process.
Suspiria acts as a good transition film into the ‘80s where witchcraft would leave its shrouded, more secretive place of mysticism and become more of an actual violent force to be reckoned with. Suspiria would also play with the idea of connecting the topic of witches and motherhood (which is also briefly touched on in The Devils), which would suddenly become a much more common component of the area moving forward. With the framework being set on witches and it being understood as a problem to help explain social issues, films were now ready to make this threat become more of an individual terror and begin to start subverting the idea.
The ‘80s and ‘90s saw us largely getting comfortable with witches as an idea—even bored with them, perhaps—which is why this reflexive, less serious look at them began to be had. Make no mistake, they’re still frightening beings (and even fare that’s meant to be lighter like The Witches still features some terrifying imagery), but it’s almost as if humor is now needed so we’ll let down our guards and the big scares will mean even more in the end. This time period not only saw features that catered to the more comedic, desensitized side of witches, such as in the cases of The Witches of Eastwick, The Witches, or Hocus Pocus (which wouldn’t have been included here, but there’s a very evil vein running through the picture), but even fodder that was meant to be more frightening, like Pumpkinhead, Warlock, or The Craft, still slotted witches into parodical, sometimes even silly, positions. It didn’t help their case that the long running, toned down WB witch-soap, Charmed, was also a product of these times as well.
Now that the brass tacks of witches have been established, the more absurd, unconventional plotlines that the rest of the supernatural have become inundated with are able to be played with. No one is wondering what a witch is anymore or where they came from, which is why a story where a witch is used to summon a giant pumpkin-headed vengeance demon, like in Pumpkinhead can be told. Warlock sees a male witch get transported by Satan from the 1600s to 20th century Los Angeles, with his witch-hunter appropriately hot on his heels. This is the fun that can be had now.
Other works from this time period such as The Witches of Eastwick, The Witches, and The Craft are specifically concerned with the stereotypes of witches that have come to be settled on at this point in pop culture. ‘60s and ‘70s cinema might be trying to educate in this regard and make you aware of a certain piece of history, but these pictures are all about bucking convention. You think you know what witches are? Well think again…
I suppose it’s only appropriate that the film from this era that would turn its back on the rest of these movies and strive to make witches feared again, would come out at the end of the decade in 1999. Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick’s The Blair Witch Project, a barebones found-footage film chronicling a number of campers investigating an old folktale about a local witch, brought the horror back to witchcraft. And it wisely goes about doing this through the necessary task of re-mystifying witches once more. So much of what makes The Blair Witch Project endlessly terrifying is the fact that you only see disparate pieces of all of it. You’re given more than enough details to pull together the occult-y storyline and figure out what all of the creepy evidence means, but that’s enough. After how overexposed and non-threatening witches had been rendered, these gaps and blind spots are what were needed to re-inject the topic with fear. We’ve been seeing everything these creatures have been doing for decades. Nothing is scarier than some mystery at this point.
With Blair Witch having properly refueled witches’ ammunition, the past fifteen years have worked hard to bank off of that, while also incorporating everything from the previous fifty years that has been looked at here. This has culminated in the most sophisticated storytelling on witches that we’ve seen yet, with the well of resources that it’s pulling from being the deepest it’s ever been. Let’s also not forget that it was during this time that we began to be bombarded with eight Harry Potter films, which won’t be looked at here due to them not fitting the horror mold, but they still managed to popularize witches with mass audiences in a tremendous way. The same can be said for the third season of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s American Horror Story, which delighted in milking “bitchcraft” for all it was worth, dragging it through bubbly, pink postmodernism all the while. With audiences becoming so hyper-aware and savvy at this point, filmmakers such as Lucky McKee, Sam Raimi, and Rob Zombie turned to complex subversions that pay respect—and nearly satirize—a lot of staples, when they directed The Woods, Drag Me to Hell, and Lords of Salem respectively. Whether the target is a haunted wood, gypsies, or the music scene, decades’ worth of witch films are touched upon through these titles, whether it’s their historical roots, bloody ties to Satan, or even the ultra-violent Giallo element that Argento brought to the spellcasters.
Then to synthesize this reflexivity with the structural innovation that The Blair Witch Project brought to the table, the Paranormal Activity franchise wrapped all of this into a single package that entertained audiences until it naturally hit its point of diminishing returns (which evidently was six films). Interestingly enough, these films didn’t market themselves to be about witches and the occult, but as the franchise continued references to witchcraft continued to be peppered throughout the films until they eventually became the central idea of the final two offerings.
With Paranormal Activity’s magic officially having cooled down, there’s been a bit of a void in terms of a new reigning voice in cinema for where to take witches. Considerable buzz has been generated around Robert Eggers upcoming horror film, The Witch, which terrified audiences this year at Sundance and has had people talking in hushed whispers about it ever since. The film, taking a page from the works out of the ‘60s such as Witchfinder General and Black Sunday sets its story back in the 1600s focusing its vision on witchcraft’s connection to religious hysteria and madness. The Witch seems to be pulling from a very primal place that relies on the witch lore itself being enough to haunt its audience, rather than depending on flashy effects and magic to make its point.
It’s only natural after witches have been taken through the whole gamut in cinema—especially lately—that the topic would cyclically return to its origin point. Once more the larger theme at hand has shifted from that of vengeance to one of doubt and nihilism. Again we are using the occult to explain our ignorance and answer our problems. Only because we know so much and have gotten exposed to so many incantations of what a witch is does this re-setting of the table work. To compare it to a reboot of a superhero franchise where the origin story is ironed once more isn’t a perfect analogy, but it’s one that works. The Witch will set the new timbre for what witches should be, and if the film connects even half as well as people are predicting it will, we’ll surely see this style and tone continued out for many more films to come until we’re burned at the stake out of heresy.