The penultimate issue of “POP” by Curt Pires and Jason Copland takes a plot heavy direction as things build towards the grand finale. The socially critical themes and tones that have made this series stand out are missing from this issue due, it would seem, to having so much story to tell. Don’t expect to have your mind blown with this one, it looks like Pires is saving the best for last.
WRITTEN BY: Curt Pires
ART BY: Jason Copland
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
RELEASE: October 22, 2014
Review By Eric Switzer
Remember the last season of “LOST” when Jacob finally reveals himself and all the beautiful mystery he was responsible for suddenly sound like utter horse shit coming out of his mouth?
“POP” may very well have set the bar too high with issues one and two. My feeling about this issue is that it tells its story but doesn’t really say anything worth hearing. It tries to: in a scene in which our heroes-on-the-run examine nature of existence and the burden of ephemerality, but it is full of familiar sentiments and does little to provoke the imagination. I realize these are high expectations to have for a single issue of a limited series, but this book has impressed to an almost soul-shaking degree and now, in issue three, I feel slightly abandoned.
A big issue I have with setting aside the social critique how non-compelling the characters are. Elle is essentially a blank slate whose purpose has seemed to be a physical representation of the questions Pires is interested in asking, rather than a fully fledged human character, and Coop is disconnected, depressed, and representative of consumer culture, again not a dynamic human being. Too much time is spent on the would-be killer couple hunting Elle and the enigmatic Cartel, though always fun to look in on, has the thinnest characters imaginable.
Again, I don’t mean to disparage, because this book has meant a lot to me and I’m expecting big things from the finale. I’m just starting to feel as though I can see a hint of the wires, a edge of a stage light, and the corner of a hastily painted backdrop. The magic isn’t lost, but it may have faded.
Eric Switzer is an aspiring filmmaker and screenplay writer living in Los Angeles. His work tends to focus on the lighter side of entropy, dystopic futures, and man’s innate struggle with his own mortality. He can be found on twitter @epicswitzer or reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today In Horror History: The Film That Killed ‘Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash,’ ‘Halloween III’ and An Epic Opening Massacre!
October 22 is an absolutely crazy day in horror history, as we begin with a look back to 2004. Yes, today is the 10th anniversary of the day The Grudge remake killed any chances of New Line Cinema bringing us Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, a story we were very close to.
As it was told to me through sources close to the project, New Line, after the monster success of the 2003 Freddy vs. Jason, was working with Sam Raimi to bring Ashley J. Williams into the franchise sequel. Ash, best known from the Evil Dead films and Army of Darkness, was to leave S-Mart, lock on his chainsaw and battle both Jason Voorhies and Freddy Krueger of the Friday the 13th and Nightmare On Elm Street franchise, respectively. There was even a treatment that Bloody Disgusting still has the exclusive on.
Now, as it goes, there was allegedly a verbal agreement that was to be announced on October 25th, 2004. That was until Ramie’s Ghost House Productions’ The Grudge opened to nearly $40M, among $187M worldwide. That’s HUGE. He allegedly reneged on the deal (and didn’t inform anyone at New Line) by announcing he’d be remaking his 1981 The Evil Dead instead.
That was 10 years ago. And that’s crazy. Thank the heavens we have the Freddy vs. Jason Vs. Ash treatment to relish in. It would have been epic.
The lore of Freddy vs. Jason Vs. Ash and The Grudge‘s destructive force on Hollywood wasn’t the only thing to happen on October 22. In fact, horror fans were destroyed when they entered the theater in 1982 to see Halloween III: Season of the Witch only to discover Michael Myers wasn’t in it. I was 2 years old when Halloween III came out, so I couldn’t tell you the extent of fan rage, but I do know a lot of you still scream “fuck Halloween III“. You’re wrong, dead wrong, as Season of the Witch is one of the best Halloween-themed horror films ever made. Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, it was released by Universal and made $14M at the box office. It eventually would lead to The Return of Michael Myers in Halloween 4.
Also released on this day in horror history, Paranormal Activity 2, which released in 2010. I initially liked the movie, but it holds up terrible and is easily the second worst in the franchise. It was a monster success, though, as Paramount is currently developing a sixth film.
Lastly, and the most fun of the lot, is the 2002 Ghost Ship, one of Dark Castle’s awful awful remakes. While the film is absolutely garbage it boasts one of the greatest opening scene in cinema history. Watch below as an entire cruise line is decapitated…
Edward Scissorhands is, for many of us, a classic. We loved it, during our goth phase, our angst-ridden middle school years. It’s the movie that started our crush on Johnny Depp, the movie that made us decide to try out black nail polish and lipstick. Or it’s the movie that really understood our poor tortured hormone-ridden teen souls, the movie that finally articulated what it was like to be the social outcast we imagined ourselves to be. It holds an important place in our collective psyche, campy charm and all. As we’ve grown, we’ve become more and more aware of the ludicrousness of the story, the exaggerated stylized aesthetic. But it’s still there, in our hearts, a vital memory.
WRITTEN BY: Kate Leth
ART BY: Drew Rausch
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
RELEASE: October 22, 2014
Reviewed By: Katy Rex
Kate Leth, Drew Rausch, and the creative team on IDW’s “Edward Scissorhands” must know what our mall goth phase was all about. They too stomped around in New Rocks and bled Manic Panic. This comic doesn’t go back and try to re-create the movie. That would be ineffective and almost disrespectful of the original. Instead, it picks up a few years after the movie left off:
“At the end of the beloved film, we see Kim relating the story of Edward Scissorhands to her young granddaughter. Now a teenager, Megs begins to wonder about the stories she heard as a child, despite her mother’s wishes. The years and loss have not been kind to Edward, who is more reclusive than ever, and beginning to find some strange and unusual things in the shadowy halls of his castle on the hill…”
The art is a mix between Jhonen Vasquez (Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Invader Zim) and Adventure Time. It’s a playful nod toward the dark and spooky, but light and fun and engaging at the same time. The writing captures Edward’s childlike wonder and crippling depression, and the “new” character, Megs, is the epitome of teen, groaning and moaning because mornings exist and doubting everything her mother says.
As amazing as all of that is, the cherry on top of this teen-angst sundae is the aptly-named Clippings section in the back, where the creators interact with us, the readers, as we share our awful stories of high school selves. Including pictures. Eyeliner pictures. It’s as great as it sounds, I promise. Bonus: teenage picture of Kieron Gillen (Phonogram, The Wicked + The Divine) and his long hair and bass guitar.
—Katy Rex writes comics analysis at endoftheuniversecomics.com, comicsbulletin.com, and bloody-disgusting.com. She also writes scholarly articles for various academic journals. She really likes butt jokes, dinosaurs, and killing psychos and midgets in Borderlands 2. She has a great sense of humor if you’re not an asshole. Twitter: @eotucomics Tumblr: katy-rex.tumblr.com Instagram: @katy_rex Email: email@example.com
Prepare your butts, because I have it on good authority that Alma’s coming for all of ‘em. After a small delay, F.E.A.R. has gone free-to-play with F.E.A.R. Online, out now on Steam. The beauty of this installment in everyone’s favorite slow-mo horror shooter franchise is there’s really no reason not to check it out, because the only investment it’ll require from you is a little over 3 GB of precious hard drive space.
If you’d rather watch me play this game before you decide if it’s worth even that, I’ll be playing through it with David in our 13 Days of Horror series later this week. Until then, here’s a trailer.
Bonding, drinking, and lots of debasing behavior between all of the less-than-noble champions’ blossoms in The Delinquents #3. That goat sure does come in handy, too. Having never read a Valiant comic before this series, I can attest that this is an uber-easy story to get into.
WRITTEN BY: James Asmus and Fred Van Lente
ART BY: Kano
PUBLISHER: Valiant Entertainment
RELEASE: 17 September 2014
Reviewed by: Your Friendly Neighborhood Brady
Hobo treasure map. Miscreant heroes and evil mutated meat making companies are chasing it down. What is going to possibly go right for anyone involved? Personally, I hope no one gets what they want here because these characters seem to become more fun when they don’t achieve their goals. Writers James Asmus and Fred Van Lente have made something truly irreverent and engaging in every way a comic should. All that plus it’s really funny how Archer, Armstrong, Quantum, Woody and the Goat stumble and bumble and pan handle their way across the country tracking down this elusive booty.
The art by Kano continues to shine in this chapter as in previous ones. It seems there’s nothing Kano can’t make truly striking. At the same time, the smaller moments where you see the heroes connect during their various shenanigans gives it unexpected warmth to these blundering, lumbering and loveable idiots. I don’t want to spoil any of the visual random buffet you’ll read but as a life-long fan, there are lots of new and original things to see here.
I concede again that I’m new to the Valiant universe. Having said that, I definitely want to learn more about it. To me,The Delinquents #3 is a great introduction to two pillar series Archer & Armstrong and Quantum and Woody. I want to know more and plan to (hopefully for Christmas). Read on now and enjoy the ride like these characters and creators do: shamelessly.
We’ve had Aliens, Prometheus and AVP, but now it’s time for Joshua Williamson to put them all to shame with the glorious “Predator” #1. This debut issue pulls no punches. No one is safe and death lies in wait around every corner. The tension is palpable and the action is visceral; this is the Predator comic we’ve been waiting for since ’87.
WRITTEN BY: Joshua Williamson
ART BY: Chris Mooneyham
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
RELEASE: October 22, 2014
Reviewed By Torin Chambers
Williamson quickly sidesteps one of past Predator comics largest potholes, introducing the Predator. We don’t spend issue upon issue following bumbling protagonists trying to figure out what mysterious creature is hunting them. Predator is in the title. There’s no need to treat each one like it’s the first time, and that’s exactly what Williamson avoids.
The protagonists here are smart and crafty, they know there’s something onboard with them and they’re going to find it. Our ‘hero’ Galgo is one slippery, slimy, greasy son of a bitch. He’s beyond cocky and looks out for himself above all else. You’d never want to be his friend (or even in his proximity) but he’s insanely fun to read. It’s an absolute joy to watch him work people, pushing the right buttons and conning others into early graves. He’s an incredibly strong protagonist in his own right, he could carry a story sans-predator — easy.
But this isn’t Galgo: Fire & Stone, it’s a god damn Predator story. More specifically it’s the story of Ahab, an old Predator who’s on his last great hunt. I won’t spoil what he’s hunting here, although if you were at Dark Horse’s NYCC panel, like me, then you know where things are going. Trust me though this, Ahab is definitely hunting his own white whale and when it comes to pass, it’ll be a spectacle.
It’d be a crime if I didn’t praise the hell out of Christopher Mooneyham’s gritty and detailed art. He was born to draw a Predator comic. The way Mooneyham works with Ahab’s heat vision is brilliant, I’ve never seen it used in such creative ways. This creative attention to detail extends to all of Ahab’s arsenal and I have no doubts it’ll just get more and more fun as the series continues.
The days of calling an okay Predator comic a blessing are over. Once this 4 issue series has concluded it will become what all Predator comics are compared to, I can feel it in my bones. Williamson and Mooneyham expertly sow the seeds for the Predator epic we’ve all wanted, and Predator has deserved, for years.
Torin Chambers is a rad dude from the nineties who does film stuff or something. Thomas the Tank Engine is his favorite transformer. Find him on Twitter @TorinsChambers
In three days, the world as we know it is going to shit. And, in “Memetic” #1 James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan begin to take us on the three issue journey of how it happens.
WRITTEN BY: James Tynion IV
ART BY: Eryk Donovan
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
RELEASE: October 22, 2014
Reviewed By Pablo Arriaga
Our two main characters, although not completely in the forefront, become the vehicles to two different aspects of this world. Aaron is the man on the front lines – the one who will experience the clusterfuck that the world is becoming. We’re introduced to his childhood friend and another close one he tries to contact, but other than that he seems like a normal twenty something kid in college. Marcus on the other hand is completely detached from electronics, and being nearly blind he’s also immune to the effects of the meme, but is very interested in them. Marcus becomes our flashlight in the dark, trying to figure out what’s causing all the mayhem, and more importantly who might be behind it.
The real focus of this story is the event itself. The term “Memetic” is based off of the Richard Dawkins’ theory that an idea is passed along through cultural groups to further the species. Tynion IV flips this theory and merges it with the modern use of “memes” on the internet. From there he plays with the notion that a simple internet image that becomes a meme could bring about the destruction of the human race in three days. With all the ‘Gates’ and information leakages happening these days, an unbelievable amount of information at our fingertips all the time. Therefore, weaponizing a meme it’s something that’s viable enough to be terrifying.
The story begins with Aaron Summer, a young kid who is browsing the right Reddit page at the right time when the “Good Times Sloth” image pops up online, and people love the shit out of it. They obsess over it. It makes them feel good. It makes them feel euphoric and they can’t have enough of it. Yet Aaron’s odd eyesight and his inability to see most colors causes him to be unaffected by the image. As he sees the world go completely apeshit over the picture, we move over to Marcus Shaw, a former member of the military who’s career may be retired but his discipline and hunger for truth hasn’t. His desire to find out what’s happening is sparked when the meme phenomenon hits a little too close to home.
Eryk Donovan’s art is set on everything that’s happening in this world and not missing an eye for detail. With an amazing flow from one panel to the next one, you’re not feeling like you’re missing any moments or are stuck, mirroring Memetic’s world to ours. Aaron’s “I should go to sleep” moment is all too familiar to all of us. Whether it’s trying to fall asleep but our phone is right there, or opening our laptops again to check something and have another four hours sucked out, everyone is on their cellphone, tweeting something, checking Facebook. Just when we’re settled into and feeling comfortable about what happened, it’s kicked into high gear and everything takes a massive dive. No one is sure what’s happening, all they know is that it’s got something to do with the Good Times Sloth.
I wish I’d gotten to know the characters a little bit more, but this being the first out of only three issues the focus is mainly on what is happening, and what our characters are going to do about it. By the looks of it, the next two issues are going to be non-stop action well worth your money.
Pablo Arriaga has been bringing the gospel of The Slacker Nerd to countless people the world over with Juatcast.com. He also writes the most metal rants on the web and knows a better recipe for tacos than you do. For more writings or to be baptized in the arms of Matthew McConaughey follow Pabby on Twitter and Facebook.
Edward Zero’s bed is warm. He’s got Siobhan now. He’s got a snow-covered cottage nestled in Iceland’s remote countryside. He’s got pet chickens, wine, and a car. He had two full bags of groceries before he launched them at the face of the assassin waiting for him to get home…
WRITTEN BY: Ales Kot
ART BY: Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: October 22, 2014
Reviewed by Nick Brehmer
You know what, I’m just going to be fully honest with this one: I’m tired of waiting for these issues of “ZERO” to come out. Then when they do come out, I get tired of writing reviews for them. I’m tired of trying to convince you jokers to start reading this incredibly fascinating series. I’m tired of trying to think of new ways to explain how blown away I am by the creative artistry of the artist each issue (#11 is drawn by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, by the way) and the narrative genius that Kot injects into his storylines. I’m tired of flipping the page, seeing the paneling, and saying, “shoot, look at that paneling.” I’m tired of rereading each issue thinking, no, knowing that I’m missing sometime big. I’m tired of all the burning questions I have by the end of each issue. What’s with the volcano? Who’s on the phone? What does it all mean? It’s so tiring!
Are you reading this Ales Kot & co.? I’m tired!
Dammit. Until next time…
A product of the harsh lands of Northern Ontario, Nick Brehmer is in fact a sensitive flower currently blooming in the GTA. He spends his downtime wishing he was British. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @nicholasbrehmer
A solid installment worth-reading, “Clive Barker’s Nightbreed” #6 will surprise readers with its twisted sense of dark humor. Based on Clive Barker’s “Cabal” novella, this spinoff explores the underground inhabitants living in the secluded city of Midian. Not only is the series exploring new territory within the “Nightbreed” mythology, it is also creating a surreal world readers must visit.
WRITTEN BY: Clive Barker and Marc Andreyko
ART BY: Piotr Kowalski, Emmanuel Xerx Javier
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
RELEASE: October 22, 2014
Reviewed By Jorge Solis
Aaron Boone is about to meet two interesting characters living in Midian. Lude and Annastasjia are sharing origin stories in a competitive game to “out-tragedy” each other.” Abandoned by his mother, the demon-looking Lude has lived a lonely life as an orphan. The Hollywood starlet Annastasjia has not aged a bit since the ’20s because she has someone else’s head living beside her. Though they have diverse backgrounds, with special circumstances, Boone is about to learn how all roads eventually lead to Midian.
Barker and co-writer Marc Andreyko keep the narrative entertaining through their witty sense of comedic timing. The writing duo delivers some laugh-out-loud humor through Lude in his coming-of-age tale. Though Lude has the face of a demon, he is really an orphan wanting the answer to why his mother abandoned him. This is about whether an unwanted child should forgive their parent for not being there.
At its best, Andreyko’s storytelling knows when to split and connect the two origin stories through their themes. Abandoned by the limelight, Annastasjia wants to strike back at Hollywood for forgetting about her. When revenge leads to nowhere, Annastasjia is able to find a home for herself, along with people who accept her, at a carnival freakshow.
Artist Piotr Kowalski Javier hits at the right expressions throughout Lude’s emotional arc. Though he is supposed to be the comic relief, Lude is really using the humor as a self-defense mechanism. Whenever the panels hit their dramatic points, Lude is then drawn cartoonishly, as if he’s avoiding the seriousness.
Emmanuel Xerx Javier captures a violent slasher tale with Annastasjia’s origin story. In her revenge plan, Annastasjia cuts off a man’s head and throws the decapitated piece in front of a moving car. We get to see all the blood when she slits the throat of the doctor who ruined her life.
“Clive Barker’s Nightbreed” #6 has crafted two interesting protagonists that should become fan-favorites. Just reading the “Nightbreed” comic makes me want to preorder “The Cabal Cut.”
Focus Features released a trailer for the forthcoming Insidious: Chapter 3 teaser, which hits officially tomorrow!
Leigh Whannell, co-creator of the terrifying horror franchise, directs the third film.
The full cast of Insidious: Chapter 3 includes Dermot Mulroney (August: Osage County) and Stefanie Scott (Jem and the Holograms) starring alongside Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, and Mr. Whannell, with the latter trio reprising their roles from the first two movies in the franchise.
“This chilling prequel, set before the haunting of the Lambert family, reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl (Stefanie Scott) who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.“
Focus Features will release Insidious: Chapter 3 domestically nationwide on Friday, May 29th, 2015.
Check out the UK trailer and quad for What We Do In The Shadows (read our review), a mockumentary/comedy written, directed by, and starring Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords, Men In Black 3) and Academy Award nominee Taika Waititi (Boy, Eagle vs. Shark).
“Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav are three vampires living together and trying to cope with modern life; from paying rent, doing housework, and trying to get into nightclubs, they’re perfectly normal – except for their immortality, fangs, and thirst for human blood. When their 8000 year-old housemate, Petyr, turns 20-something Nick into a vampire, the guys must guide him through his newfound eternal life. In return, they are forced to learn a thing or two about modern life.”
The film premiered at Sundance this year and is screening at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Three Fingers, Saw Tooth and One Eye are looking for some new blood, and the hillbilly horror franchise will get that with a new director behind Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort. Helmed by Re-Kill‘s Valeri Milev, the sixth Wrong Turn arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD TODAY.
In this infographic, the legendary hillbillies’ murderous spree are details kill by bloody kill.
“The unrelenting terror starts when an emotionally troubled young man, Danny, inherits an isolated backwoods hotel that may hold the key to his secret past. A trip to the peaceful resort quickly transforms into a blood-soaked killing spree, as Danny’s friends are brutally murdered one by one. Danny discovers that Three Finger and his flesh-eating kin are to blame, but the chilling surprises they have in store for him have only just begun. Danny ultimately learns that he has an unthinkable connection to the clan of hillbilly cannibals, but now that he knows the shocking truth, he will face an even more horrifying choice.”
Sadie Katz, Aqueela Zoll, Anthony Ilott, Chris Jarvis, Rollo Skinner, Billy Ashworth, Joe Gaminara, Harry Belcher, Raymond Steers, Luke Cousins, Tabitha Luke Eardley and Roxanne Pallett star.
The Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort Blu-ray and DVD are loaded with tasty special features that will have you hungry for even more gore this Halloween. Check out a behind the scenes look at the dangerous Hobb Springs hotel, and learn how Danny really became part of the cannibals’ bloodline.
Rocker-turned-actor Henry Rollins (Feast) is attached to star in a miniseries spinoff of the recently completed indie horror-comedy feature He Never Died writes Variety.
The TV project will see Rollins sink his teeth deeper into the role of Jack, the immortal, bloodthirsty outcast at the center of the feature, which was lensed in Toronto.
He Never Died writer-director Jason Krawczyk, producer Zach Hagen of Alternate Ending Studio and producers David Miller and Adrienne Stern are also attached to the series.
“We couldn’t be more excited to bring the unique and bloody horror to Rollins’ cult following through this miniseries,” said 108 founder Abhi Rastogi. “The subject matter is unlike any other, giving audiences the chance to explore a whole new fictional world.”
“He Never Died follows Jack in his battle with cannibalism and mental sobriety. An exceptionally prolonged life has brought depression and detachment. Jack buys stolen blood from a hospital intern, plays bingo, sleeps fourteen hours a day, watches television six hours a day, and lives alone. This is his life – he has shelled himself away from social interactions. The fuse is lit when Jack’s past comes back to rattle him. Jack must now walk a tight rope of sobriety and try to eat as few people as possible in this violent tale of personal responsibility and self worth. As it turns out, there are very few reasons to live when you can’t die.”
Toronto-based 108 Media began shopping the miniseries earlier this month at Mipcom and will bring it to the American Film Market in Santa Monica next month.
Hardcore punk/funk band Snot are back and they’re gearing up for a full US tour that will see them perform their classic debut album Get Some in its entirety! The tour kicks off November 28th in Palm Desert, CA and wraps up December 23rd in Pomona, CA.
Guitarist Mike Doling comments:
I want to let you know we are ready to rock out as hard as humanly possible with all you SNOT heads around the world on our first world tour. I hope you’re ready cause we have a ton of massive energy to bring to you. SNOT is something special to us. We will enjoy playing our debut and only record GET SOME in it’s entirety for you live for all you die hard SNOT HEADS! SAY SOMETHING FOR THE RECORD TELL THE PEOPLE WHAT YOU FEEL!!
Vocalist Tommy Vext adds:
Words cannot describe how excited I am to be getting back in the road with my brothers in SNOT. It is a privilege to play with a band that has had an indeterminable influence over countless artists from the bands inception & thereafter. I’m honored to pay tribute Lynn Strait and offer Snot fans on an international level the live experience they may not have yet enjoyed.
To celebrate this upcoming tour, Mike Doling has put together a list of his Top 10 70′s/80′s horror films! The list covers some recognized classics but also tosses in some films that aren’t given as much love as they might warrant.
Head on in to check out this list!
Here’s a really cool UK poster for Universal Pictures’Ouija, in theaters October 24.
The pic stars “Bates Motel” and The Quiet Ones‘ Olivia Cooke, with Douglas Smith and Bianca Santos.
“In Ouija, a group of friends must confront their most terrifying fears when they awaken the dark powers of an ancient spirit board.“
Stiles White directs the supernatural thriller that is produced by Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller (The Purge, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th) alongside Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious series, The Purge), Bennett Schneir (Battleship) and Hasbro.
Some of the greatest minds throughout history have been people who strayed from the norm, who challenged the status quo by not conforming to the demands and expectations of society around them. Because of these people, the world has seen unbelievable works of art, read life-changing stories, seen classic movies, and more.
The trouble with being different is that there are people who find that to be a target, not something to be celebrated or nurtured or, at the absolute least, simply left alone. One such example of this was the murder of 21-year old Sophie Lancaster, who in 2007 was beaten so brutally that she lapsed into a coma, never regained consciousness, and died 13 days later. Her boyfriend of three years, Rob Maltby, was also beaten into a coma and has been left with lasting brain damage.
Born from that pain and loss was the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a group that aims to “Stamp out prejudice, hatred and intolerance everywhere.”
To help with this foundation, alt-rock band Bad Pollyanna along with cult makeup brand Illamasqua has released a charity track entitled “Invincible Girl” to commemorate the seventh anniversary of Lancaster’s murder.
Sophie’s mother Sylvia Lancaster states:
To say that everyone at The Sophie Lancaster Foundation is extremely excited about this track is an understatement. We all feel that seven years is an appropriate milestone to celebrate the strength and courage Sophie’s death has given us to slowly but surely change the world. The proceeds and awareness from this charity single will help us continue our crucial work.
Slender Man, both the game and the idea, just kind of appeared out of nowhere. One day the internet was all cat videos and impotent rage, and then the next there were these weird reaction videos to a game called Slender: The Eight Pages.
As a horror experience, Slender: The Eight Pages is about as pure as you can get. It is the grand, reductive essence of horror: you wander a dark, wooded area, knowing at any moment the embodiment of your nightmares might materialize in your line of sight. There is no combat and there is nowhere to hide, but keep moving and you might stave off the eventual heart-thudding sight of the Slender Man, a blank, besuited vision of terror.
Effective as it was, the Slender trend seemed to be a one-trick sort of animal, all empty shock but without narrative heft or emotional depth. It was a haunted house inside a computer screen and little else. It was — for a great number of horror fans — a bit too thin.
However, the release of Slender: The Arrival hoped to change that. It’s a sequel, of sorts, but also a reimagining with some added content, kind of like The Evil Dead. And sure, yeah, the PC version was released last fall, but the PS3 and Xbox360 versions are out, complete with new levels, so it deserves a look-see.
Core horror fans might find Slender: The Arrival a bit lean on story and gameplay variety, but there are still plenty of scares to be found in the console version of this creepypasta run amok.
The idea of a Slender game can be best summarized by the “plot” of The Eight Pages: armed only with a flashlight, wander a darkened area and track down a collection of pages before the scary guy in the suit catches you. If the screen gets all wonky, run in the other direction until it subsides. Repeat.
It is an effective premise for a brief horror encounter, the sort of thing you might forgive in a short story but be put off by in a longer work. In no universe worth visiting is a Slender Man game going to fill eight hours. To their credit, the developers seem to understand the limits of Slender’s appeal, because the game does not stretch beyond its fairly insubstantial lore. It’s at best a two hour experience, even if you take your merry time to inspect each and every available inch of the world.
The moody opening is distinctly reminiscent of Gone Home, but otherwise Slender: The Arrival doesn’t stray very far from the basic “solve-puzzle, avoid-Slender” formula.
Overall, the game takes players through five distinctly abandoned environments, as the main character, Lauren, attempts to track down her friend, Kate. It employs a few neat story tricks using the camera but largely also clings to some of the more unappealing storytelling devices of earlier games. The narrative is delivered through found discarded and intentional correspondences, which work to wildly varying degrees.
Scrawled messages seem to fit into the realm of likely found objects, while printed out emails, unfortunately, do not. To be perfectly honest, nothing about the story really stands out in my mind, even a day out of finishing the game, but nobody comes to this sort of game for what draws the story along. The game’s narrative is really in service of the scares.
And The Arrival contains some pretty nerve-wracking moments, all things told. You’ve probably already played through the infamous “forest” scene, but some of the added content — including the Homestead — will offer several white knuckle moments of terror, almost guaranteed. I’m not much of a jumper, but I found myself reeling back at several critical moments throughout this admittedly brief experience.
Honestly, how much you enjoyment you get out of the game will depend largely upon (a) how susceptible you are to the particular kinds of jump scares Slender games deliver or (b) how forgiving you are of the repetitive nature of the tasks you will perform. You can tell the devs attempted to break the formula by introducing very minor puzzle elements to the exploration, but somehow it all still feels the same in the end. Pages or keys, it’s just looking for something to unlock the next area.
Graphically, the console version has some problems. I can’t speak for the Xbox version, but there were some pretty severe pop-in issues at some points on the PS3. During scenes with a relatively high rendering load, especially when multiple things were happening on-screen, there were also some issues with slow down, as well.
Otherwise, however, the game looks pretty good, particularly when compared to early versions of the game. Obviously, a high-end PC would run the game quite a bit better, but comparatively, the PS3 version isn’t half bad.
The Final Word: Slender: The Arrival has some effective scares, but they’re sometimes hurt by its repetitive nature.
As we exclusively reported, New Line Cinema is planning three The Conjuring spinoffs outside of the planned sequel to James Wan’s 2013 summer blockbuster. The first was last weekend’s Annabelle, which is a huge success, especially overseas.
New Line had been planning to release The Conjuring 2 in theaters next October, but has quickly made a shift. It will now open at an undisclosed date in 2016, while a currently untitled horror film will now take its October 23, 2015 date.
My personal assertion is that this will be another Conjuring spinoff. If not, it will be an Annabelle sequel (unlikely), or the long-gestured Friday the 13th reboot. Being that we were correct last time about an untitled film being Annabelle, I’m very curious what other tales of terror New Line has linked to the Warren Files.
Carey Hayes and Chad Hayes are penning the sequel to The Conjuring, which I’m told is pushing to get Wan back behind the camera. Wan has been busy with the seventh Fast & Furious.
Our 13 Days of Horror series continues today with a playthrough of the demo for the upcoming indie horror game Monstrum. In it I face my old nemesis, Jack-o-Lantern Face. If there are kids nearby, shield their eyes, because you’re about to hear a man make sounds that no man should ever make.
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We reported earlier this year that Colin and Greg Strause’s Skyline would be getting a sequel.
Our friends at Latino Review are reporting that the badass Frank Grillo (The Purge: Anarchy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier) is the lead in Beyond Skyline, which is to be directed this time by Liam O’Donnell, who worked on some effects in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem and Iron Man 2. He co-wrote the screenplay with Joshua Cordes. The duo wrote the first film, too.
They also report that supposedly the sequel’s storyline takes place at the same time the first one did.
Hydraulx Entertainment is behind the sequel, and do some seriously badass effects work.