[Blu-ray Review] ‘The Complete Lady Snowblood’ Gets Much Deserved Criterion Treatment

bloody disgusting - Thu, 01/07/2016 - 11:32

For pretty much as long as I can remember Criterion has been the gold standard when it comes to home video entertainment. They release the best of the best across a wide variety of film genres, emphasis on wide variety. This is important because I still know a handful of people who have a very specific idea of what type of films Criterion releases. They picture the label only releasing artsy, pretentious films. Fortunately these people are just a bit misinformed.

If you know somebody that feels this way, I recommend showing them The Complete Lady Snowblood from Criterion. The films star Meiko Kaji and were directed by Toshiya Fujita, adapted from a manga of the same name.

Lady Snowblood

In 1873 a married couple and their young son are arriving in their new town. The husband (Masaaki Daimon) is the new elementary school teacher and he’s eager to get started. Just as they are entering the town they are attacked by four criminals – Kitahama Okono (Sanae Nakahara), Takemura Banzō (Noboru Nakaya), Shokei Tokuichi (Takeo Chii) and Tsukamoto Gishirō (Eiji Okada). Okono holds the wife, Sayo (Miyoko Akaza), down as the three men killer her husband and son. They then rape Sayo.

When everything is all said and done, Tokuichi takes Sayo away with and forces her to work for him. Sayo waits for the right moment and then kills Tokuichi with a knife. This ends up getting Sayo thrown in jail. Once there she sleeps with a prison guard in an attempt to get pregnant. Her plan is to have a baby who can grow up and seek vengeance in her name…and it works. Sayo gives birth to a girl named Yuki and then shortly after passes away in prison. Yuki is set to live and train with a priest named Dōkai (Kō Nishimura).

As Yuki grows up she becomes Lady Snowblood (Meiko Kaji) and dedicates her life to seek the remaining three criminals who attacked her mother.

Lady Snowblood was a huge influence on Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill series and it’s easy to see why. There are a number of similarities between the two film franchises. Both are told out of sequence, Lady Snowblood jumps back and forth from before she is born to her current journey. Both films are revenge films shot out of sequence. Tarantino borrowed some visuals; most notably I’d say are some of the snowfall sequences. The character of O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill is actually based off Lady Snowblood and her battle with the bride takes place in a setting that is almost entirely pulled from Lady Snowblood.  And obviously there is the theme song, song by Kaji, which Tarantino used.

It’s very easy to see why a movie like this would resonate with a young Tarantino. On the most basic level, Lady Snowblood is freakin’ awesome! From the opening frame to the final shot, it’s just a complete blast. I still can’t believe how much blood is in this movie. Limbs are chopped off, people are halved and blood is constantly spraying everywhere in nice healthy streams. Hey, this is my kind of movie!

From a technical standpoint the film is beautiful. What probably stands out the most is the cinematography of Masaki Tamura. The movie looks absolutely gorgeous. I love the snowy landscapes and the way Tamura captured them on film. My favorite show is from inside the prison looking out the window and we see the snow falling down with a red backdrop. It’s breathtaking.

Rating: 5/5

Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance

The sequel to Lady Snowblood opens with Yuki (Kaji, reprising her role) being surrounded and attacked by a ton of police. She kills a number of them before finally realizing there are too many for even her to take on and she gives up. Yuki is arrested and sentenced to hang but right before her sentenced is to be executed she is saved by the head of the Secret Police Kikui Seishiro (Shin Kishida).

Kikui is aware of Yuki’s past and wants to use her special skills to help serve the government. He enlists her as a spy to infiltrate the home of Tokunaga Ransui (Juzo Itami), an anarchist who is seen as an enemy of the state. Yuki is advised that Tokunaga has a critical document that could bring down the government. Yuki’s job is to retrieve that document, but once she spends time with Tokunaga she is unsure as to which side is the good side.

Love Song of Vengeance isn’t nearly as good as the first film. That’s not to say it’s bad because it’s certainly not. It does, however, lack some of the fun of the first film. In Lady Snowblood there is a good balance of introducing us to Yuki and her backstory while making sure the film gets going right away. In Long Song of Vengeance things take a little longer to pick up.

Maybe it was just the political stuff that I didn’t find as interesting but personally I see Lady Snowblood as a hired assassin. I don’t really care that much to see her spend time trying to find some important document. I want to see her assassinating and this time around it took longer to get to that point.

All that being said the film is still very good and entertaining, just in a different way. Tamura is back once again shooting gorgeous landscapes and Kaji is still kick-ass. Things are just toned down a smidge.

Rating: 3.5/5

Criterion has released both films together in one wonderful set. The films are both on one disc, but given the space availability on Blu-rays that’s more than enough room to not have to cram the films on. Transfers on booth films are stunning, which is very important for movies that rely heavily on strong, vivid visuals like these. Not a lot of special features but you do get to brand new interviews. The first is with Kazuo Koikie, the creator of the Lady Snowblood magna, and the second is with Norio Osada, the man who adapted the magna into screenplays. Combined these are just over 30 minutes and give you a bit of insight on the creation of this great character.

Criterion has never steered me wrong before and this is another fantastic release from them. I really can’t think of any reason why you shouldn’t get this.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

The Complete Lady Snowblood is now available on Blu-ray from Criterion.

Categories: Horror News

[Podcast] Whatever – January 7th, 2016 – “A Look Ahead … and Behind”

bloody disgusting - Thu, 01/07/2016 - 11:31

Happy New Year! This week: What we’re looking forward to in 2016, a Sonic 3 mystery solved, and retro games galore!

Subscribe to us on iTunes!

Leave a comment below, like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter, and let us know your thoughts!

Categories: Horror News

Whacked Out ‘High-Rise’ Trailer Goes Full Bret Easton Ellis!

bloody disgusting - Thu, 01/07/2016 - 11:22

Welcome to the high life…

The new trailer for Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise is here and it’s quite the throw-back.

While the film takes place in 1976 (the perfect choice in music takes cues from Talking Heads and Pink Floyd), visually I feel like what Wheatley has delivered is something similar to a 1980’s Bret Easton Ellis adaptation, like Less Than Zero or American Psycho.

While our own Kalyn wasn’t a fan (read our review), I can’t help but be excited by this dark, twisted and fucking insane trailer featuring Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers, Crimson Peak), Jeremy Irons (Batman v Superman), Sienna Miller (American Sniper), Luke Evans (Dracula Untold) and Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men”).

From the director of Kill List, Sightseers and A Field in England, “1975. Two miles west of London, Dr. Laing moves into his new apartment seeking soulless anonymity, only to find that the building’s residents have no intention of leaving him alone. Resigned to the complex social dynamics unfolding around him, Laing bites the bullet and becomes neighbourly. As he struggles to establish his position, Laing’s good manners and sanity disintegrate along with the building. The lights go out and the elevators fail but the party goes on. People are the problem. Booze is the currency. Sex is the panacea.

While we wait for a U.S. date, it opens in the UK on March 16th.

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HIGH-RISE poster courtesy of StudioCanal

Categories: Horror News

Rob Zombie’s ’31’ Poster Welcomes You to Hell (Sundance ’16)

bloody disgusting - Thu, 01/07/2016 - 11:04

Rob Zombie welcomes you to Hell.

The shock-rocker-turned-director has shared the official festival poster for 31, his Halloween-themed slasher that initially received an NC-17 before finally getting the much-needed R-rating from the dreaded MPAA for “strong bloody horror violence, pervasive language, sexual content and drug use.”

This morning Zombie celebrated the rating, and the upcoming Sundance Film Festival premiere, with a look at the film’s one-sheet that’s a collage of all the zany characters we’ll see in the film, played by Sheri Moon Zombie, Malcolm McDowell, Richard Brake, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Jeff Daniel Phillips, and even Meg Foster.

In 31, “Five friends are kidnapped on the day before Halloween and are held hostage in a terrifying place named Murder World. While trapped, they must play a violent game called 31, in which the mission is to survive 12 hours against a gang of evil clowns.

Categories: Horror News

[Review] ‘Anger of the Dead’ Inspires Anger With Its Dense Characters and Mindless Script

bloody disgusting - Thu, 01/07/2016 - 10:44

Anger of the Dead comes to us courtesy of Uncork’d Entertainment, a distribution company that has given us such gems like Krampus: The Reckoning, The Ouija Exorcism and Patrick: Evil Awakens (Okay, that last one is actually pretty decent). It tells the familiar story of a small group of people attempting to survive the zombie apocalypse. Oh yeah, and it was produced by Uwe Boll.

That last part should tell you everything you need to know about Anger of the Dead, as it is a poorly-scripted and poorly-acted slog of a film that should satisfy only the most hardcore of zombie fans.

Alice (Roberta Sparta) is taking care of her toddler daughter when she receives a frantic call from her husband warning her not to leave the house. Little does she know that her daughter has opened the front door and let in a zombie. Some mayhem ensues and Alice teams up with Stephen (Marius Bizau) before the film flashes forward four months and they have had enough time to become seasoned zombie fighters. Meanwhile Rooker (Aaron Stielstra), a truly loathsome character (at one point he threatens to sic his “racist and pedophile friends” on someone), is attempting to locate the unnamed female Prisoner, a young woman whom he was holding hostage that somehow escaped his clutches.

There are a slew of problems present in Anger of the Dead, the worst of which is the aforementioned script. For example, there is a groan-inducing monologue in which Rooker compares a disloyal henchman to Pinocchio and proceeds to explain to him in detail who Pinocchio is and how his comparison is apt. There are also a plethora of plot contrivances. From a character leaving himself wide open to zombie attacks by sitting in his parked car with the windows open to another character who had previously been willing to shoot a friend for getting bit suddenly wanting to keep another infected until the moment when they turn. There are enough nonsensical moments in Anger of the Dead to make your head spin and to attempt to list them here would be a seemingly endless task.

Side-by-side comparison of the one-sheets for Anger of the Dead and season four of The Walking Dead.

What Anger of the Dead truly suffers from is issues with its tone. Everything on screen plays as silly while the actors are all doing their best to deliver lines in the most melodramatic ways. Had the film just gone the Sharknado route and played it all for laughs, it would have been a better film. Unfortunately the film takes itself so seriously that it makes a joke of its entire 84 minutes.

It’s not all bad though. The makeup effects are well done by Carlo Diamantini, even if the zombies look more like vampires from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (see above). Francesco Picone, adapting his short film of the same name, is actually quite a talented director. He chooses to film about 95% of the film in daylight and it works in his favor. The film isn’t gorgeous by any means, but it looks a lot better than you would expect something like this to. Cinematographer Mirco Sgarzi’s should also receive credit for this. These factors make Anger of the Dead somewhat watchable, as it is a competently made film.

Anger of the Dead might entertain those who are desperately in need of a zombie fix before The Walking Dead returns in February, but all others should stay away. It is nothing more than a cheap way to cash in on the buzz surrounding AMC’s popular series (the opening credits of the film are a near-replica of the credits of that show, music and all). This is depressing, since zombie films can be so much better than this. Anger of the Dead just isn’t up for the task.

Anger of the Dead opens theatrically in NY and LA on January 8th before its DVD release on February 2nd.

Score: 1.5/5 Skulls
Categories: Horror News

This ‘Dying Light’ Mod Was Inevitable

bloody disgusting - Thu, 01/07/2016 - 01:15

The unpredictable nature of video games leaves little room for certainty. Anything can happen. A promising title might get cancelled, a sure bet might become a spectacular flop, and I might get around to playing every game in my Steam library.

Because the Internet is an untamable beast with a penchant for combining things to humorous and/or magical effect, and Dying Light has made it incredibly easy for us to do what what we want with the game, it was only a matter of time until someone combined it with the game that paved the way so we could show off to our friends online with sick 360-degree backflip somersaults.

If you ever doubted that Dying Light and Mirror’s Edge were meant to be, Steam user Elimina (via Kotaku) has definitive proof that the two pair nicely with each other.

Categories: Horror News

‘Outlast 2’ Takes Up Arms in New Image

bloody disgusting - Thu, 01/07/2016 - 00:06

Red Barrels really hit the ground running with their viscerally frightening video game debut, which, incidentally, involved a considerable amount of cardio. The just-announced Outlast 2 only recently began to slowly reveal itself to us, but it’s a safe bet the sequel won’t stray very far from what worked so well the first time around.

Of the many promising horror games we have to look forward to in the coming year, this may be the game that’s the most interested in pleasing gorehounds. To say Outlast was liberal with its gore is like saying Michael Myers is sort of interested in masks. Saying the game used gore like it was going out of style would be a more accurate way of describing it.

As much as I enjoy ruminating over the troubling revelations that slow-burn horror games like SOMA often leave me with, that style of horror game can’t satisfy my desire to be thrown from my seat by a sudden scare when I make the mistake of lingering too long so I can take in all the gruesome details of what’s probably a human meat closet.

Outlast 2 hits PC, PS4 and Xbox One this fall.

Categories: Horror News

‘Last Year’ Concept Artist Tackles ‘Aliens’ and Those Who Hunt Them

bloody disgusting - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 22:28

Derek Zabrocki is an exceptionally talented concept artist with a passion for the horror and sci-fi genres. His work often blends the two, as you can see in this sampling of his portfolio, with some of it appearing in the Aliens vs. Predator board game, Magic: The Gathering, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, and the crowdfunded teen stab ’em up Last Year.

Supermassive’s spooky sleeper hit Until Dawn set an incredibly high bar for future slasher games, like Friday the 13th: The Game and Last Year, which are both expected to arrive this fall.

The connection between these two games runs deep than the obvious, as they’re both asymmetrical multiplayer games — 7v1 and 5v1, respectively — that revolve around a group of stereotypical teens who must work together to survive against a masked murderer.

Last Year is headed to PC, while Friday the 13th is coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

Head over here for more crowdfunded horror games!

Categories: Horror News

‘Damien’ Trailer Gives Visual Reference to ‘The Omen’!

bloody disgusting - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 20:45

Just a few hours ago we told you that “Bates Motel” returns March 7 at 9 p.m. ET, followed by the debut of “Damien” at 10 p.m. ET.

Now, we have the first full trailer for the series that welcomes home Damien Thorn, played by Bradley James. What’s cool is that it’s literally a sequel to The Omen film franchise, as shown in the above screencap.

The ten-episode “Damien” follows the adult life of Damien Thorn (James), the mysterious child from the 1976 film who has grown up, seemingly unaware of the satanic forces around him. Haunted by his past, Damien must now come to terms with his true destiny — that he is the Antichrist, the most feared man throughout the ages.

Barbara Hershey co-stars as Ann Rutledge, the world’s most powerful woman, who has been tasked with making sure Damien fulfills his destiny. Omid Abtahi portrays Amani Golkar, a close colleague of Damien’s whose fierce loyalty will be tested when he realizes who his brother-in-arms actually is. Meganlyn Echikunwoke plays Simone Baptiste, a woman whose life is thrown into turmoil when tragedy unexpectedly strikes.

Glen Mazzara (“The Walking Dead”) acts as showrunner.

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Trailer courtesy of Deadline and A&E.

Categories: Horror News

‘The Conjuring 2’ Images Appear in Lieu of Trailer Tease!

bloody disgusting - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 19:29

Now that a teaser promises a full trailer tomorrow, we now have some images, courtesy of Heyuguys, from James Wan’s The Conjuring 2, in which paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) travel to 1977 England to help single mom Peggy Hodgson and her four children, particularly daughter Janet (played by Madison Wolfe).

“The haunting that afflicted the Hodgson family is probably one of the most documented paranormal cases in the world,” director Wan recently told EW, who visited the Enfield borough of London where the supernatural activity took place.

The Conjuring sequel, in theaters June 10, 2016, is said to open with The Amityville Horror case. After, the sequel will tell of the infamous “Enfield Poltergeist,” which took place at a council house in Brimsdown village, borough of Enfield, England during the late 1970s.

[Related Post] James Wan Aims The Conjuring 2 at the Skeptics

Rounding out the cast are Frances O’Connor (“The Missing”) as the single mom, with newcomers Lauren Esposito, Patrick McAuley and Benjamin Haigh as her children; Maria Doyle Kennedy (“Orphan Black”); Simon Delaney (“Roy”); Franka Potente (“The Bridge”); and Simon McBurney (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation).

In addition to directing the film, Wan wrote the screenplay with Carey Hayes & Chad Hayes, and David Leslie Johnson.

In the below image you’ll see two crucial players. “Seated around the kitchen table are Simon McBurney and Frances O’Connor as paranormal investigator Maurice Grosse and matriarch of the besieged family Peggy Hodgson respectively,” explains the site.

THE CONJURING 2 | image via Warner Bros.

THE CONJURING 2 | image via Warner Bros.

THE CONJURING 2 | image via Warner Bros.

THE CONJURING 2 | image via Warner Bros.

THE CONJURING 2 | image via Warner Bros.

Categories: Horror News

Scream Factory’s Colorful ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’ Blu-ray Art!

bloody disgusting - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 17:55

Scream Factory announced in October that they will be releasing what they call a “Collector’s Edition” of the 1986 comedy/slasher The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which 12 years after the original Tobe Hooper-directed film.

Scream Factory, who just released the below cover art, also revealed an April 19th release date!

The polarizing sequel saw the debut of Bill Moseley as fan favorite “Chop Top” and Dennis Hopper as the crazed “Lieutenant ‘Lefty’ Enright”.

It also brought us Caroline Williams (Contracted, Halloween II, Tales of Halloween) as “Vanita ‘Stretch’ Brock,” a radio host who is victimized by the cannibal family as a former Texas Marshall (Hopper) hunts them.

Categories: Horror News

Rob Zombie’s ’31’ Receives an R-Rating

bloody disgusting - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 17:42

Two weeks ago, we reported that Rob Zombie’s upcoming horror film 31 received the dreaded NC-17 rating from the MPAA not once but twice! Now it seems that enough alterations were made for the rating board to issue a more theater-safe R, although it’s still going to feature, “strong bloody horror violence, pervasive language, sexual content and drug use.”

In the Halloween-themed slasher, “Five friends are kidnapped on the day before Halloween and are held hostage in a terrifying place named Murder World. While trapped, they must play a violent game called 31, in which the mission is to survive 12 hours against a gang of evil clowns.

31, which stars Sheri Moon Zombie, Malcolm McDowell, Richard Brake, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Jeff Daniel Phillips, and even Meg Foster, will premiere at Sundance later this month.

Categories: Horror News

How Well Do You Know These Classic Slasher Killers?

bloody disgusting - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 17:15

Slasher films are perhaps the most well known subgenre of horror in mainstream society. After all, they’re the ones that are plastered all over billboards, slapped on our TVs, seen in cultural references, etc… Almost everyone knows who Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees is but I doubt many people can tell you where Samara Morgan is from or what film featured Nix*.

Now, I’m not bashing that at all. I think it’s awesome that any part of horror becomes ingrained in the public eye, which is why I think it’s also just as important to learn a bit more about those characters so that they can be discussed with reverence and knowledge.

With that being said, below is a quiz that challenges you on your knowledge of several iconic slashers. I’m not going to lie and tell you I did well because I absolutely didn’t. In fact, I did pretty terrible. Time to hit the horror textbooks and get to learning!

Take the quiz and let us know your results in the comments below!

*The Ring and Lord of Illusions, respectively.

Categories: Horror News

‘The Conjuring 2’: Here’s the Teaser for the Teaser…and Images!

bloody disgusting - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 16:54

As is par for the course lately, a short teaser – and a slightly extended version – have been released for James Wan’s The Conjuring 2 to hype people up for, you guessed it, an actual full length teaser which will drop tomorrow. The clip mainly uses footage from The Conjuring although it ends with new footage of a crucifix turning upside down while the music box tune from the first film plays.

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) travel to 1977 England to help single mom Peggy Hodgson and her four children, particularly daughter Janet (played by Madison Wolfe).

The Conjuring sequel, in theaters June 10, 2016, is said to open with The Amityville Horror case. After, the sequel will tell of the infamous “Enfield Poltergeist,” which took place at a council house in Brimsdown village, borough of Enfield, England during the late 1970s.

[Related Post] James Wan Aims The Conjuring 2 at the Skeptics

Rounding out the cast are Frances O’Connor (“The Missing”) as the single mom, with newcomers Lauren Esposito, Patrick McAuley and Benjamin Haigh as her children; Maria Doyle Kennedy (“Orphan Black”); Simon Delaney (“Roy”); Franka Potente (“The Bridge”); and Simon McBurney (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation).

In addition to directing the film, Wan wrote the screenplay with Carey Hayes & Chad Hayes, and David Leslie Johnson.

THE CONJURING 2 | image via Warner Bros.

Ok folks, here's @TheConjuring's Ed & Lorraine Warren's terrifying next case! #TheConjuring2 teaser trailer tomorrow pic.twitter.com/cOssf5aP9z

— James Wan (@creepypuppet) January 6, 2016

Categories: Horror News

[Blu-ray Review] ‘Condemned’ is Messy Film That Never Finds Its Footing

bloody disgusting - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 16:31

Maya (Dylan Penn) is a well off girl who lives with her parents on the nice side of town. The problem is her parents are constantly fighting and she can’t stand it. To get away she moves in with her boyfriend Dante (Ronen Rubinstein). On the surface this seems like a good idea but once Maya arrives to Dante’s home she learns that he lives in an abandon apartment complex in New York City that the city has deemed condemned. Dante shares this apartment with his best friend Loki (Honor Titus) and his girlfriend Alexa (Genevieve Hudson-Price).

As Dante leads Maya to their new home together we meet the group of weirdos sharing the rundown building. You’ve got the old grumpy man who has lived in the apartment his whole life, a couple of junkies that will do anything for a fix, a large Jewish man named Big Foot who lives with his girlfriend who he also pimps out, a gay couple who look like a pair of WWE wrestlers and are into humiliation and Hitler and of course a drug dealer named Cookie who dreams of being with a pop star.

For the most part the apartment building is functional despite its condemned status. There’s running water, electricity and the toilets sort of work. All things considered it’s not too bad. But after everyone’s waste continues to funnel into the non-working sewer system things begin to build up. Eventually Cookie dumps some orange, presumably toxic, waste down the toilet and it mixes with everything else down there. This then pollutes the water and anyone who comes in contact with it begins to vomit and get disgusting boils that pop up everywhere on their body. Before too long the toxic mixture drives everyone angry and they begin to attack one another.

This is of course the plot of the new film Condemned, from writer/director Eli Morgan Gesner. The film has some ideas that I kind of like. I love being confined to one location and a giant run-down apartment building in the middle of New York City is a pretty terrific location. Sadly I can’t really say I liked the movie.

I assume the intent of the film is to gross you and just make you feel filthy in general. In that sense I’d have to say it’s a success. This movie is really disgusting. The boils people get grow to a rather large size and when they pop they release a greenish-yellowish goop that looks to be extremely sticky. Mix that in with a fair amount of projectile vomit and blood and you’ve got one big mess! There were a few moments that kind of reminded me of Street Trash, which is a good thing.

Unfortunately there were only a few moments that brought Street Trash to mind. The majority of the time I couldn’t help but think of the more recent Septic Man. Any time a movie makes you recall Septic Man, that’s bad. What I mean when I say that is that the film just feels gross to be gross and is in general kind of boring. It’s not really entertaining or all that fun. I think too much time was spent trying to up the level of nastiness and not enough time was spent on developing characters. You have all these different characters that could be interesting but they all come across as lazily written clichés. And most are far too over the top.

This might be nitpicking, but one thing that really bugged me was the character of Loki and his guitar. Loki wants to be a rock star and his most prized possession is a bass guitar he owns. At least it’s supposed to be a bass guitar. Multiple times Loki claims that his bass is a Gene Simmons edition bass, one of only 175 that were ever made. This is supposed to be like the axe bass that Simmons made famous. The problem is what Loki has is clearly a guitar. Now maybe it’s just because I played bass for a bit, but this is extremely annoying to me. Actually get it right and get him a bass or just say it’s a guitar. There is a huge difference between the two instruments. If Loki is as in to music as we are to believe, he would most certainly know that what he has is actually a guitar and not a bass.

Condemned also features a lot of what I would call music video style editing. Occasionally this can work in a narrative film but more often than not I find it to be distracting. I’m not sure if Gesner has ever done any music videos but his previous film is a documentary on skateboarding and hip hop so that may explain this approach. Hopefully he moves away from that on future narrative stories he may tell.

Condemned has its moments, particularly those when it seems to channel Street Trash. The majority of the film, however, feels a bit lost and struggling to find its way. A couple of re-writes to add a little more depth to a few of the characters would have gone a long way. I can’t say this film is for me, but I’m sure there are some out there that will dig it.

Rating: 2/5

Condemned is out now on Blu-ray from Image Entertainment.

Categories: Horror News

‘Damien’ and ‘Bates Motel’ Premiere Dates!

bloody disgusting - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 16:25

While I’ve already check out of A&E’s contemporary Psycho prequel, “Bates Motel,” I’m pretty excited for “Damien,” their followup to The Omen franchise.

It was revealed at the Television Critics Association’s press tour that “Bates Motel” returns March 7 at 9 p.m. ET, followed by the debut of “Damien” at 10 p.m. ET.

The critically-acclaimed “Bates Motel” shows how Norman Bates (played by Freddie Highmore) unravels through his teenage years. Vera Farmiga plays his mother, Norma Bates.

The ten-episode “Damien” follows the adult life of Damien Thorn (James), the mysterious child from the 1976 film who has grown up, seemingly unaware of the satanic forces around him. Haunted by his past, Damien must now come to terms with his true destiny — that he is the Antichrist, the most feared man throughout the ages.

Bradley James plays the titular character and Glen Mazzara (“The Walking Dead”) acts as showrunner.

Categories: Horror News

Frank Darabont Opens Up About Being Fired From ‘The Walking Dead’

bloody disgusting - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 15:33

Not holding anything back, Frank Darabont has opened up about his firing from AMC’s hit show “The Walking Dead“, of which he was the showrunner for season 1 and 2, and the circumstances that led to such a decision. This information is coming up as Darabont is pursuing claims that AMC breached their contract with him, resulting in a loss of tens of millions of dollars that they allegedly owe him.

Darabont held pretty much nothing back in his scathing remarks on AMC executives surrounding the situation. For example, when talking about budgeting for the show, Darabont brought up emails touting the myriad of successes which, apparently, had no bearing on costs:

I remember Joel Stillerman, in a meeting in my office, when we were all discussing the issues of the upcoming season, we said to him, ‘Surely that the success of the show, which, by the way, you guys are bragging about because we keep getting e-mails saying, ‘Hey, we’re breaking viewership records in 120 countries around the world by hundreds of percent, in some countries by over 1,000%,’ at the same time we’re hearing how successful the show is for you, you’re telling us that this, this budget issue is not going to budge at all. And he said, ‘The success of the show has no bearing on this discussion,’ in a rather icy manner.

Another huge blow that shook Darabont and the crew to the core was when AMC announced that they were apparently keeping the tax credit.

Not only cutting us from 3.4 [million] to 3 [million], that was bad enough, but then they dropped the bomb on us that, oh, by the way, they’re also keeping the tax credit. They’re going to pocket the tax credit. So, between the two you’ve got a full 25% cut across the board. Now, that tax credit, by the way, was something that, again, you go back to the treatment of the cast and crew. The cast and crew were earning, busting their butts, leaving it all on the field, to earn. The fact that we couldn’t then take that tax credit and put it on the screen or alleviate shooting conditions to any degree, I thought that was adding insult to injury. But again, our success had no bearing on that discussion according to him.

Darabont continues with even more information, such as meetings with the VP of Scripted Programming and the lack of interest and empathy from AMC execs, all of which can be read here.

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Categories: Horror News

Top 10 Kills in the ‘Hostel’ Franchise!

bloody disgusting - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 15:30

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Eli Roth’s now infamous film Hostel. Lately, Hostel seems to have lost the respect it once received in the public eye. When it was released in 2005, it was highly regarded, especially in the horror community. Now when people mention it, they seem to only be able to recall the “torture porn” trend that it started. Personally, I think the first Hostel is alright, but I absolutely love Hostel: Part II. As for Hostel: Part III, the less said about that one the better, but I digress. To celebrate the occasion (and in addition to Jonathan’s post from earlier today), we thought we would rank the top ten kills in the trilogy!

***Everything that follows is NSFW. ESPECIALLY #2***

10. Natalya, Svetlana, and Alexei (Hostel) – Hit by Car

It’s not that this set of deaths is particularly memorable, it was just so cathartic to see all of these characters get what was coming to them. Granted, it would have been a little bit nicer had they suffered some kind of torture like poor Josh (more on him in a bit).

9. Paxton (Hostel: Part II) – Decapitated

Paxton’s (Jay Hernandez) death may happen off-screen, but that doesn’t mean it’s not brutal when you finally see it. We get to briefly revisit Paxton in Roth’s clever homage to Friday the 13th Part 2. It’s not long before his girlfriend (Jordan Ladd) discovers her cat licking the neck wound on his headless corpse though. Nice touch!

8. Axelle (Hostel: Part II) – Decapitated

This is just your standard, everyday decapitation, but the real kicker (no pun intended) here is that the kids in the “Bubblegum Gang” play soccer with her head. It doesn’t hurt matters that Beth (Lauren German) was finally able to get her revenge on her after she helped get all of her friends killed.

7. Kana (Hostel) – Hit by Train

I’ve written about how difficult it is to watch Kana’s scenes in Hostel because of the eye pus, but her death is nearly as disturbing as she chooses to commit suicide by jumping in front of a train. The fact that she would rather die than live life with a facial deformity is the real disturbing thing about this death. At least she saved a lot of money on therapy this way.

6. Josh (Hostel) – Throat Slashed

The first major kill in the Hostel franchise (though not the first major death, that would be Oli’s off-screen decapitation) is a brutal one, if only for the fact that it was implied that Josh (Derek Richardson) would be the “Final Girl” of the film. His death introduced us to the madness that would play out over the course of the rest of the series. After having a few holes drilled into his leg, his killer slits his Achilles tendons and allows him to attempt to walk out. The shot of his heel when he takes a step is enough to make anyone turn away. The throat slashing seems tame by comparison.

5. Whitney (Hostel: Part II) – Saw Blade to the Face

Poor Whitney (Bijou Phillips). All she wanted to do was get laid. Of course, this is a cardinal sin for any character in a horror movie, so she was destined to die. The manner of her death was particularly shocking though, when Todd (Richard Burgi) is showing off with his power saw and accidentally slices off part of her scalp. In a sick twist, she doesn’t actually die from this and has to be pawned of to other Elite Hunting Club members (at a discounted rate) when Todd backs out.

4. Mike (Hostel: Part III) – Face Sliced Off

Hostel: Part III didn’t have that many great deaths (one girl gets suffocated by cockroaches, if that gives you any idea), but Mike’s is arguably the best one in the film. The poor bastard gets his face sliced off which supposedly kills him, though technically we don’t see him die. He does die though, which qualifies him for placement on this list.

3. Guard (Hostel) – Head Bashed in by Children

This guy doesn’t even have a name, but the fact that he gets murdered by a group of kids is pretty awesome. The cherry on top of his much-deserved death is the shot of his head being crushed by one of the children.

2. Stuart (Hostel: Part II) – Castrated **GRAPHIC NUDITY**

Roth subverted audience expectations in Hostel: Part II by pulling a switcheroo with his two lead villains Todd and Stuart (Roger Bart). Todd had spent the whole movie playing the “tough guy” role, with Stuart acting more shy and reserved. Lo and behold, Stuart is actually the psychotic one, and his betrayal of Beth makes it all the more satisfying when she finally castrates him and feeds his severed member to the dogs.

1. Lorna (Hostel: Part II) – Throat Slashed

Lorna’s (Heather Matarazzo) death is the most brutal death in the entire Hostel trilogy. There is no argument about it. The poor girl just wanted to have a nice vacation, and instead she got sliced up by a Mrs. Bathory, a woman with hematomania. What makes this death so difficult to watch is that once Bathory cuts off Lorna’s gag, we must spend over a minute listening to her pleas for help as Bathory cuts into her back with a scythe. When she finally slits Lorna’s throat (in a spectacularly bloody effect), it’s a mercy on her and the audience.

Do you agree with my rankings? What are your favorite kills in the Hostel franchise? Do you, like me, think that Hostel: Part II is an underrated gem? Let me know in the comments below or shoot me a Tweet and celebrate the 10th anniversary of Eli Roth’s Hostel!

Categories: Horror News

Scream Factory Releasing Wes Craven’s ‘The Serpent and the Rainbow’!

bloody disgusting - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 14:35

Scream Factory, the home video outlet that is basically a bastion of horror awesomeness, has announced that they will be releasing Wes Craven’s 1988 voodoo zombie thriller The Serpent and the Rainbow! Starring Bill Pullman, Cathy Tyson, Zakes Mokae, and Paul Winfield, the film follows an anthropologist (Pullman) who travels to Haiti to retrieve a strange powder that supposedly can bring humans back from the dead.

A Harvard anthropologist (Bill Pullman) is sent to Haiti to retrieve a strange powder that is said to have the power to bring human beings back from the dead. In his quest to find the miracle drug, the cynical scientist enters the rarely seen netherworld of walking zombies, blood rites and ancient curses. Based on the true life experiences of Wade Davis and filmed on location in Haiti, it’s a frightening excursion into black magic and the supernatural.

Scream Factory will be releasing the film on February 23rd and those who preorder early may get a limited 18×24 poster!

The special features include:
*NEW 2015 HD transfer from the inter-positive film element
*NEW audio commentary with actor Bill Pullman
*NEW The Making of The Serpent and the Rainbow featuring new interviews with actor Bill Pullman, author Wade Davis, director of photography John Lindley and special makeup effects artists Lance Anderson and David Anderson
*Theatrical Trailer
*TV Spot
*Still Gallery

Categories: Horror News

Snip, Slice, and Carve Into the 10th Anniversary of ‘Hostel’

bloody disgusting - Wed, 01/06/2016 - 13:20

Today we celebrate the tenth anniversary of Eli Roth’s Hostel, a film that both reviled and delighted audiences upon its release. Marketed heavily as being as “Quentin Tarantino presents…,” the film drew in audiences who might not normally go to the theaters for a film like this but who fully knew what kind of horror movie they were getting into (the trailer itself uses the word “torture,” which is kinda on the nose).

After 10 years, it’s worth looking back at this film as it came about in a rather interesting time, a time when extreme filmmaking wasn’t sure if it had a place.

The film follows two college students, Paxton (Jay Hernandez) and Josh (Derek Richardson), who are backpacking throughout Europe with their Icelandic friend Óli, when they decide to stay in a hostel in Slovakia after being told that there are tons of beautiful women there. Lo and behold, this is an awful idea as they are one-by-one kidnapped and taken to an abandoned factory where they find out they’ve been sold to businessmen who are intent on torturing and killing them in whatever way they see fit.

Costing less than $5 million to make but drawing in almost $81 million worldwide, the movie was a huge success for Lionsgate and paved the way for two sequels, the first of which is considered by many to be superior to the original while the third leaves a lot to be desired.

Now, above I mentioned that Hostel came out at an interesting time and I want to explain that. You see, just a few years prior, the 9/11 attacks occurred and there was this running doubt as to what Hollywood should do with their films. The American people witnessed a horror and tragedy the likes of which hadn’t been seen since Pearl Harbor and this was broadcast nonstop for weeks. With so much horror shown on the television, could Hollywood afford to offer anything like that? As it turns out, yes they could.

Rather than shy away from being traumatic and visceral, horror embraced it and went off the deep end. People witnessed tragedy so horror was going to go even further to act, in a strange way, as a kind of outlet, a place where people could take their shock and funnel it into something they knew was fake, thereby releasing it from their shoulders.

And Hostel was no different. In a strange way, Paxton represents the United States pre, during, and post 9/11. He was relatively innocent and excited about the future while traveling through Europe. Then he was attacked and maimed in the factory. And in the end he managed to emerge victorious, defeating the man responsible for his suffering. Yet he still couldn’t go back to how he was before. Too much had changed for him.

While this transition is all too familiar for horror fans – it’s been done since…forever? – here the villain isn’t some nameless creature and it’s not some demonic entity. It’s another country and its people that made us feel unsettled. It was people who come from a different way of life, a different culture, and it triggered a bit of our own xenophobia.

Now, it should be noted that both the Czech Republic and Slovakian governments denounced the film as they felt that it showed their countries in, well…less than attractive circumstances. And having personally been to the Czech Republic recently, I can confirm that it’s a stunning country with unbelievable history and some of the nicest, happiest people I’ve ever run into.

If we were to ignore the last few paragraphs, then from a purely superficial point of view, this movie may seem very shallow. After all, it’s just a bunch of people getting chopped, quite literally, into pieces. But, in my opinion, what this movie offered was a rather fascinating and darkly hilarious take on consumerism and the view of Americans in the global environment.

The below clip is a fantastic example of not only the derision that many have for Americans but also a representation of the machismo and bravado of us Yanks, stirred in with a healthy dose of self loathing. Rick Hoffman’s businessman character, who is delightfully astounded that Paxton “bought and killed” an American, casually waves a gun around and gleefully hems and haws over how to kill his own victim, opting to take it slow and cause agony. I have a feeling that many non-Americans saw this as rather fitting instead of horrifying. Perhaps they saw it as both?

An interesting fact is that many people think the term “torture porn” originated with critic David Edelstein’s review of this movie, even though its release came a few years after Saw, which marked the resurgence of films that either heavily implied or flat out showed a lot of gore.

Alright, enough of me waxing poetic on Hostel. What are your thoughts? Is it a casual midday film or is there something more behind Roth and his offering? Tell us in the comments what your thoughts are on Hostel!

Categories: Horror News