Predator is one of the greatest sci-fi action films ever. Not many will dispute that one. You have a charismatic group of badasses put in a jungle, who in turn are systematically hunted by an even more badass alien. It’s no wonder that some filmmakers have tried to replicate the success of Predator by copying its formula, with mixed results. With Russell Friedenberg’s Wind Walkers, the formula that made Predator so enjoyable is tweaked a bit, tossing out the alien and putting in aspects of the cult cannibal film Ravenous into the mix, and switching the setting up with the Florida Everglades.
Sean Kotz (Zane Holtz) is home after serving duty in the Middle East, and has been having trouble adjusting to life. That takes a back seat to the annual Everglades hunting trip with his family and friends. However, things aren’t quite right from the time they arrive at their hunting shack, which appears to have been ransacked. Things get even weirder when the group finds a wild pig carcass gutted and strung up from a tree, and a pig’s head left in their shack. Soon, with a hurricane approaching the area, the group is holed up in the shack, and nerves begin to be strained. Turns out that the group is being hunted by something, and that something is connected to what Sean witnessed during his tour.
The idea of having the film in the Florida Everglades is a pretty cool idea, given the environment. It has both an alluring beauty component to it, as well as having that feeling of isolation that definitely harkens back to the jungle in Predator. This sets up some nice areas for exploiting tension within the film. The opening shot of the group paddling down the river was definitely a nice touch. Kudos to Friedenberg for getting in those shots where there’s no sound, save for the wind blowing through the trees. The limited score by Robin Zimmermann also helped at points to keep that creepy vibe going.
Digging deeper, Holtz is okay as the main protagonist, but his wooden performance leaves much to be desired. I understand the whole PTSD aspect of a man on the frontline, and that he’s on meds, but Holtz waltzes through the film with the same expression and comatose delivery, with reactions to certain situation that no one would make, stoned or otherwise. The guy looks and sounds bored (except when the script says otherwise), and it doesn’t do the viewer any favours when we’re supposed to be getting behind him. The other players aren’t much better, turning in okay performances with limited range and overacting. Might I also point out that it’s pretty stupid for you to bring along on a hunting trip someone who has just come back from a traumatic experience like war and hand them a rifle.
Unfortunately, the film’s problems don’t stop there. The screenplay shows some difficulties in editing, namely in flashbacks. The idea of having flashbacks in a film is a good way to get the audience up to speed with info that the writer can’t put into the screenplay in any other way. It makes little sense, however, when these flashbacks could’ve easily been edited into the start of the film, or cut down into smaller chunks to sprinkle throughout. Sure, the opening shot of the group paddling down the river is cool, but saving that just for the sake of the opening credits? It could’ve been just as effective later on. The result is a film that jumps around for no reason other than to give the illusion of progress, when in actuality, much of the flashbacks could’ve been eliminated to progress the film in a more linear fashion, rather than interrupting the film’s flow. The result are holes in the film (such as how Castille Landon’s character managed to get to where the hunting group was without the aid of a canoe or truck), that quickly turn it into a frustrating experience.
This could’ve been a cool twist on the “hunter becoming the hunted” idea, with some great tension, but instead Wind Walkers ends up a mess. Lame acting, with holes in story progression and logic, and elements ripped off from other successful films make this one a chore to watch. It tries to be a more down-to-earth (no pun intended) version of Predator, but quickly becomes a joke. Stick with the Schwarzenegger classic, and leave Wind Walkers to drift.
NECA announces that one of the most requested Gremlins figures of all time is finally here!
Their latest deluxe action figure from Gremlins 2: The New Batch is the spectacular “Bat Gremlin,” with a massive wingspan of nearly 18 inches.
This detailed re-creation of the puppet seen in Gremlins 2 is fully articulated, including hinged ears, hinged jaw, and jointed arms that allow the wings to spread open and fold closed!
In other news, Funko has announced Vinyl Idolz figures for Shaun of the Dead and Young Frankenstein.
Vinyl Idolz: Shaun of the Dead: Vinyl Sugar is delighted to welcome a new set of zombie-hunting Vinyl Idolz! Shaun and Ed are ready to save some lives, grab some pints at the Winchester, and wait this zombie thing out… or is it too late for one of them?
There’s no time like a zombie apocalypse to try to win your girlfriend back!
Vinyl Idolz: Young Frankenstein: Alive! It’s alive! The new Young Frankenstein Vinyl Idolz are alive!
Igor is happy to steal a brain for you, as long as you don’t have your heart set on receiving the one you specifically asked for. An Abby Normal brain, perhaps?
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein – that’s FRONK-en-steen – never wanted to accept his family history, but then he found his grandfather’s diary and changed his mind.
Watch out for The Monster – if he escapes, he may try to kill you or even steal your fiancée! Hopefully you can play the violin and lure him back to safety.
Alright, let me just rattle these names off for ya: Derek Mears (Friday The 13th, Predators), Tyler Mane (Halloween), Jason Trost (Hatchet III), Danny Trejo (Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn), Tony Moran (Halloween‘s Michael Myers, American Poltergeist), Sean Whalen (Men In Black, Halloween II), and Vernon Wells (Mad Max 2, Commando, Weird Science). All of those horror and pop culture icons are going to be featured in the upcoming Slayer music video for their track “Repentless”, the title track off their upcoming album.
The video is also being directed by BJ McDonnell (Hatchet III), who was a cameraman on Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. The video is being produced by Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp).
“Repentless” takes place inside of the Sybil Brand Institute, a woman’s prison in East Los Angeles and features a staged riot. While we haven’t had a chance to see it, word is that the video plays out, “…more like something for a feature film than a rock band’s music video.” Below is a gallery of images from the filming of the video.
The video will be coming out in the near future. Repentless is set to drop on September 11th via Nuclear Blast.
There’s nothing we love more than a stacked release schedule, and as the summer comes to a close and Halloween season approaches, the horror releases are set to come our way hot and heavy. This weekend is particularly loaded, with four new titles now available for streaming!
First up is director Mickey Keating’s Pod (review), which comes recommended by our own Matt Boiselle. The film, arriving today via Vertical Entertainment, stars Lauren Ashley Carter, Dean Cates, Larry Fessenden, Brian Morvant, and John Weselcouch.
After receiving a troubling voicemail, estranged siblings Ed and Lyla travel to their isolated family lake house in Maine to hold an intervention on their increasingly paranoid, war veteran brother, Martin. But the situation rapidly spirals out of control when they discover the house completely ransacked and learn that Martin has constructed an elaborate and horrifying conspiracy theory surrounding a sinister entity that he believes he has trapped in the basement.
Up next is the Jason Eisener-produced Turbo Kid, a bloody blast of 80s awesome that we’ve been hotly anticipating for quite some time here on Dread. Directed by Anouk Whissell, François Simard, and Yoann-Karl Whissell, this one stars Laurence Leboeuf, Michael Ironside, and Munro Chambers.
In a post-apocalyptic future a young solitary scavenger obsessed with comic books must face his fears and become a reluctant hero when he meets a mysterious girl.
Danish filmmaker Jonas Alexander Arnby makes his feature debut with When Animals Dream (review), hitting Stateside theaters and VOD outlets today. The film is being described as Let the Right One In meets Carrie, and stars Sonia Suhl, Lars Mikkelsen, Sonja Richter, and Jakob Oftebro.
Marie is a beautiful and lonely 16-year-old who lives in an isolated village on a small island off the west coast of Denmark. Marie’s mother is seriously ill, suffering from an unknown disease – on medication, mentally absent, and tied to a wheelchair. Marie’s father, Thor, runs the small grocery store and tries to make life as normal as possible for the small family. On the surface, everything seems fine – and yet, Marie can’t help feeling that Thor is hiding something about her mother’s illness.
And finally, Craig Zobel’s Z for Zachariah is also available for instant streaming this weekend, in addition to hitting limited theaters. The post-apocalyptic thriller’s cast is pretty damn impressive, featuring Margot Robbie, Chris Pine, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
In a post-apocalyptic world, a young woman who believes she is the last human on Earth meets a dying scientist searching for survivors. Their relationship becomes tenuous when another survivor appears. As the two men compete for the woman’s affection, their primal urges begin to reveal their true nature.
The post Today on VOD: Pod, Turbo Kid, When Animals Dream and Z for Zachariah appeared first on Dread Central.
The horror anthology Volumes of Blood (review) is gaining lots of buzz and right now we have a gory exclusive clip to get you guys all sticky!
P.J. Starks, HorrorHound and Scream Factory artist Nathan Thomas Milliner, Jakob Bilinski, Lee Vervoort, and horror author John Kenneth Muir direct. Jim O’Rear (Days of the Dead), pinup model Vixxxen Lucy Lynn, Roni Jonah (The Zombie Movie), Jason Crowe (Easter Casket), and many more star. Lynn Lowry (The Crazies and The Cat People) is executive producing.
Five tales of dread are interwoven when a sociology student gathers several of his friends at the local library on Halloween night to help him create a new urban legend with deadly consequences.
Lily is in for a late night of researching and needs something to keep her going. It isn’t until she’s approached by a mysterious stranger that her luck may change… for the worse. A typical night of work for a librarian becomes a classic ghost story with a modern twist.
Sometimes you can’t keep a bad book down; Sidney is allowed to stay after hours to study for a test. It’s not until she suddenly awakens in the darkened library that she realizes the horrifying truth of what lurks among the stacks of books after midnight. She better pray she doesn’t become the prey.
Paige faces regrets that she’d do anything to take back. When an ancient and arcane spell book literally falls into her lap, she decides to make a grave decision. Be careful what you wish for; it might just kill you.
The post Volumes of Blood – Exclusive Clip Pencils in the Gruesome! appeared first on Dread Central.
The following is a part of a series exploring Vincent Price films that have eluded me throughout the years. My goal is to see every horror Price film and explore it further. I hope to inspire you all to check out these films if you haven’t seen them or revisit them if you have. Thank you for reading!
You’d think the most unsettling aspect of Return of the Fly would have been yet another insectoid monstrosity but as it turned out, it was a guinea pig. The film opens on a rain-soaked funeral with Francois Delambre (Vincent Price) and his nephew Philippe mourning the loss of Philippe’s mother and Francois’s unrequited love 15 years after the events of the first film (which technically makes it 1973 but we’ll let the aesthetics slide).
Here passes from this earth Helen Delambre, widow of my brother, Andre, who I loved deeply, hopelessly. She was destroyed in the end by dreadful memories, a recollection of horrors that did not dim as the years went on but grew monstrously… – Francois Delambre
Philippe, played here by 50s hottie Brett Halsey, is determined to discover what secrets his family has been holding back from him. He has vague recollection and an almost PTSD reaction to flies but can’t wrap his head around the missing memories of his past. After needling his uncle, he finally learns the grim truth of his father’s demise and his mother’s madness.
Against Francois’s wishes, he decides to pursue his father’s work and perfect it so nothing like his family’s tragedy can happen again. With the aid of his partner, and all around sleaze, Ronald Holmes (David Frankham) he rebuilds his father’s work and even convinces Uncle Francois to join in. Well, that’s not entirely true he really just threatens to bankrupt the family biz if Francois doesn’t agree to assist.
Everything is peachy keen until Philippe’s greasy partner decides he is going to steal the blueprints and make off with all the fame and glory for himself (fortune and glory!) with the help of a local mortician/con-man. When an intruding journalist catches him in the act the machine goes awry transforming the journalist into a Guinea pig/human hybrid. Say what you will about old monster movies, some of them really got it right when it came unnerving its audience.
As you may suspect from the title of the film, Philippe is transformed into a hideous fly creature, far more frightening and hideous than his father before him, while trying to subdue Ronald. Will Philippe succumb to the same demise as his father? Will Ronald make off with the blueprints? Watch it your damn self! Conveniently on YouTube I might add.
Return of the Fly, in many ways, is a superior film to its predecessor. For one, and I can probably attribute this to the glorious Scream! Factory release, it’s much prettier to look at. Cinemascope does wonders and black and white suits me just fine, especially when the transfer is almost spotless.
But looks aside, the story is much more engrossing than the first. Andre, though very tragic, always lacked an intimate connection with me. While his transformation and struggle in the lab occurs behind closed doors we get a much more personal view at Philippe’s trials and tribulations which lead to his ultimate downfall.
And speaking of his transformation, the animal and insect mashups are far more grotesque and disturbing. Philippe’s fly design is much more other-worldly, the head is larger as well as the fly talon that is often used to strangle (well it’s the 50s, monsters still strangle people to death) his victims. But where his father turned almost completely fly-brained, Philippe manages to keep it together as best as a non-verbal fly creature can. Lest we can’t forget the other half of this equation, the fly with the human head. Remember how in the first film they actually just painted a real fly’s head white to signify it as Andre? Well, now we actually get Philippe’s head superimposed onto the fly body which is basically a nightmare all in itself.
The only real tragedy in Return of the Fly is the lack of Vincent Price. Well, lack of Vincent Price as we know him. The Fly films always placed him as a supporting character, but I would have enjoyed a “crazy with grief” performance from him here. Perhaps that was one of the things he had enjoyed from the first draft but was eventually cut out. Whatever the story may have been I kept finding myself longing for more screen time for Price (which has nothing to do with my weird undying love for him…I swear…)
Return of the Fly is one of those rare sequels that holds up, and in this writer’s opinion, improves greatly on the first film. I have a ton of admiration for the first film and I’ll never not love it, but Return of the Fly turned it up a notch and for that I applaud it. Evidently there is a third film in the franchise called Curse of the Fly (1965) directed by Don Sharp of Hammer fame, namely Christopher Lee films such as Rasputin the Mad Monk and The Brides of Fu Man Chu. It’s only loosely related to the first two films and should really be viewed away from the others.
Sure, some of the film is flawed, the most glaring being that his original lab was in the basement of the house in The Fly but was moved to the foundry where Andre was pressed to death. But hey, it was the 50s and shit happens. I highly recommend you check this one out if you haven’t already. I would wait until Fall really starts to settle in, though, this flick has a great atmosphere for the Halloween season vibe.
And one last thing before I go, The Return of the Fly churned out some pretty rad posters and if I didn’t find flies totally disgusting I’d have them all! Check ‘em out below!
Perhaps one of the biggest blows to the “American Horror Story” property this season was the loss of Jessica Lange, who had been a part of the series since the beginning. She was a fan favorite, bringing grace, depth, and class to each of her roles and her loss was regarded as one of the a big blow. But that loss might only be a temporary one…
Show creator Ryan Murphy tells EW about the possibility of Lange returning to the series:
I’ve been talking to her. It’s always possible. I’m trying to deal with her play schedule. Jessica is always about the character. She’ll be back—she’s not gone forever. But that’s the fun and fresh thing about the show: sometimes somebody has to go away before you realize how much you miss them. She wants to come back we just have to come up with something.
The upcoming fifth season of “American Horror Story”, dubbed “Hotel”, is set in modern day Los Angeles, five years after the first season.
“American Horror Story: Hotel” stars Lady Gaga, Matt Bomer, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Evan Peters, Finn Wittrock, Chloe Sevigny, Wes Bentley, and Cheyenne Jackson.
We caught up with director Christopher Landon last year, right around the time his horror hit Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones was out in theaters. Rather than basking in the box-office afterglow, Landon was hard at work on the set of Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.
Intense night shoots, working with child actors, dealing with elaborate makeups, overseeing stunts involving fire, cars, and cats, blood soaked strippers, plus zombie hordes, hadn’t flagged Landon’s enthusiasm one bit, even deep into the shoot – here’s what he had to say about all those things, and more.
Dread Central: How much fun can you have with horror style when you’ve got to take into consideration the comedy too?
Christopher Landon: It’s pretty stylized but in a way that it’s funny. We keep saying that we’re actually making an 80s movie. I describe it as a gory R-rated version of The Goonies.
DC: Did your young cast even know what The Goonies is?
CL: It was required viewing when we started out, and there were a few other things that I wanted them to watch. I think it just has that kind of old school quality to it, only we have those zombie strippers and stretched out old zombie dicks and all sorts of [crazy stuff].
DC: How did you come on board to direct this?
CL: I read the script and I automatically fell in love with the characters. What I loved about the movie so much was that even though it’s this big type of zombie epic, ultimately it’s really about friendship. It’s about these three guys who over the course of one night found out why their friendship means so much to them. Every movie that I write or work on, the characters always come first and if there isn’t some sort of relatable emotional story to connect with I’m not interested. I think good horror and good comedy works when you have characters that you care about, and so that’s what hooked me. Then for me it was just about the gore, because the older version of the script was really fun but they were trying to go PG-13 and it never going to happen. I’m a big horror fan and when I see a zombie movie I want to gore, I want to see guts and all that stuff because it’s fun. That was a big part of the challenge rewriting the script for me, it was just really like concentrating on aging it up that way, of sort of ramping up the set pieces because the other thing that I wanted to do when I read the script was, I wanted to make it an action movie. Now it’s a full-blown action movie; there is this wall to wall set piece, and they’re really fun.
DC: Should the genre fiends be looking for any type of Easter eggs as homages to other zombie movies?
CL: You know, it’s funny: I have one really fun Easter egg in the movie because John Carpenter is one of my heroes and there is a John Carpenter Easter egg in the movie. We talked about cameos and we talked about how do we invite a ton of different people to be in the movie, but a part of me was like, ‘No.’ I just wanted it to be its own thing because as much as I love a good cameo, it still takes you out of the movie no matter what; you stop and you go ‘Oh, there’s so and so’ and then you go back into the movie and I didn’t want that to happen.
DC: Can you talk about your decision to go primarily practical with the effects verses CG?
CL: It was again going back to the spirit of what we wanted; we wanted to do this old school, and for me that is practical. I just think practical effects are better, still, and I have so much respect for the digital world and how much they can do, but I feel like there’s just something really cool about going that direction. There’s stuff that people will see in this movie and I’m not going to be specific about it because I don’t want to spill anything, but there is stuff that people are going to see and go ‘Wow.’ It will clearly be a practical effect, but it’s on purpose. We want people to go to that Gremlins place and go to that old school vibe and so that was a big part of it for us; it was making sure that we had that. Our DP Brandon Trost was amazing. When he and I were working together and brain storming together, we kept talking about all this stuff and so literally the lenses that we’re shooting the movie on right now is awesome old effects lenses that they shot Poltergeist on.
DC: What’s your balance in the film between the horror and the comedy?
CL: The obvious one, because I just mentioned it, is I think Gremlins. Gremlins is kind of a cool reference because it had some fun with the scares but I think it is much more of a comedy. I think this movie is more of a comedy, but we have a lot of good scares and they come from the Paranormal Activity world; I’m still a big fan of still delivering some really good jump scares, stuff to really get people, and the great thing about humour is that it disarms people and so there’s some stuff in here that’s really unexpected in scares, but they just go hand in hand with the comedy.
DC: We know that you have zombies that are sticking to their former professions…
CL: Exactly. The strippers.
DC: …but do you have hero zombies; like, one zombie that is pursuing your leads throughout the film?
CL: We have one zombie who is actually the scout leader, David Koechner. He can’t get a break, but he keeps pursuing our characters over and over again. It’s kind of funny because it seems as if, yes, he’s out to eat them but I also have this weird thing in my head where he’s drawn to them because of his connection to these guys and so that’s how he keeps finding his way to them. He’s awesome in the movie. I can’t wait for people to see him.
DC: What is your approach to the zombies?
CL: There’s a couple things that I think we did differently in this movie. I think first and foremost is that we actually gave our zombies personalities. I wanted them to have ties to their former selves and not just be mindless wandering. We have those when it’s like horrid situations where obviously they’re being pursued by a lot of zombies, it goes to that which is traditional and it should be. But they have these one on one encounter with zombies that are completely original and funny; one of them is the stripper, and there’s the homeless zombie. They interact with the zombies in a way that is not typical and that’s one thing, and then we have zombie animals which is really funny.
DC: We’ve heard about the cats.
CL: Yeah, we have zombie cats. There’s a neighbour who lives next door to Carter, her name is Miss Fielder, played by Cloris Leachman, and Cloris ends up being attacked by the cats; they turn her into a zombie and then there is a whole zombie attack scene.
DC: Where do you shine in this film? Would people look at this and say there is Chris’s strength?
CL: Again, I think the strength for me is even if you go back and look at the Paranormal Activity (movies) especially the last one, I like humour, I love to bring comedy into my world. I just think that they go well together, and so I think that we really deliver. I feel like I’m bringing the humour but also I’m just proud of making a movie that feels like something that I watched when I was a kid. I’ve missed these movies; I feel like they’re not being made anymore and I think everything is either $5 million and small or its gigantic tentpole, and we’ve lost the spirit. I’m really grateful that Paramount wants to go back and to take this chance and to make a movie that I think that audiences really want to see but they are just not getting. I think we’re going to have a great time on this; it is really funny and scary.
DC: How was Tye Sheridan cast as Ben? And your other scouts?
CL: I saw Mud when I was on the plane, and really didn’t know much about the movie [but] I saw this kid, and so as soon as I got the script it was, like, ‘That’s person that I want to work with, and I was really nervous about casting him; not nervous about him, but more worried about him not wanting to do it because he does have these awesome indies with the finest directors on planet earth, and so I was like ‘Shoot, he’s never going to do this’. So he read it and he called me right away and said he loved the script and it was crazy and fun. I’m really grateful because he’s awesome and it’s so different, nobody has seen him like this, he’s so funny but he also brings an emotional depth that I know that Ben needed to have to anchor the movie. Then Logan Miller’s awesome; he’s just like a professional comedian, everything he does is funny but he does it with honesty. It’s not too over the top he just hits the right note, and Carter is such a tricky character because he’s a bit of an asshole but you don’t want to be too much of an asshole, you want to still like him and so he brings a certain kind of heart to it that’s critical. Then Joseph Morgan; he’s self-taped. He lives in Chicago, he’s never done anything and our casting directors said ‘Hey, you should check this kid out,’ and I watched him. I looked at the casting directors and I was like ‘This is the guy for sure’ and so we set up a screen test for him, and I was really nervous because he was going to be working with these other guys who were seasoned; they have done tons of movies and have been working their whole lives. We did the screen test with him and he just killed it. I showed it to the studio and they flipped out over him, so it was a no brainer for him and their chemistry is great. They’re best friends and I think that it really shows that they’re genuinely close off camera, which has been nice. I was nervous at first because you’re wondering, ‘What if they hate each other?’ but you’ll never know with people so, we started organising these little day trips and things for them to do together, and they just clicked and that was perfect.
DC: What are you thinking about for the score?
CL: I want something that’s kind of big and that does throw back to that old school style, because I think it will work. We have some scenes in the movie that requires 80s vibe to it, but yeah: big and loud.
DC: What’s the key to surviving all night shoots?
CL: It was just like urgency, on crack. It’s hard, it’s the transitioning in the beginning and it’s funny because we all became zombies, which is fitting. Then you start to get used to it and then you drink a lot of coffee, you don’t sleep a lot. I think we all operated on four hours per night, and it is what it is but the whole cast [is] so dedicated and I couldn’t be luckier in that right.
DC: How has it been to direct the zombie hordes?
CL: We have a zombie choreographer; Mark is awesome and he has been the one to really wrangle. It’s big because you’re working with extras, some are good and some have never done it before, and so it’s an education. I’ve got no worry. He had to teach me how to do a zombie walk so that I could get into it, and I had to go and get the contact lenses and put them in my eyes. I wanted to feel what everybody else was going to experience before they did it so that I could at least speak from a place of knowledge. I’m surprised that they weren’t terrible to wear, you just can’t see anything but it’s been funny working with them. They’re great, it’s amazing that these people would come out and spend all night with us and run around and fall down and do all kinds of crazy stuff and do it because they love being zombies. It’s kind of crazy to me. I’m a big fan of getting my hands dirty and when I get to smash things I try to smash them myself first and its fun. There’s a lot of blood in the movie, but its funny blood so it’s okay. I’m squeamish when it comes to the real stuff. I have horror movies that I’ve watched, and had to close my eyes because it’s too much for me.
DC: On that note, how hard an R are you hoping for?
CL: There’s so many tits and there’s so much blood and stuff in this movie, that there’s no chance that we are not a hard R. There’s a couple things in here that might get us in a little bit of trouble, but it’s good stuff.
Directed by Christopher Landon (Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones), the film stars Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse), Patrick Schwarzenegger, Logan Miller (The Stanford Prison Experiment), Joey Morgan, Sarah Dumont (Don John), Halston Sage (Neighbors), one of our all time favorites – Cloris Leachman (Young Frankenstein), and David Koechner (Anchorman).
Look for it in theatres on October 30, 2015.
Three Scouts and lifelong friends join forces with one bad-ass cocktail waitress to become the world’s most unlikely team of heroes. When their peaceful town is ravaged by a zombie invasion, they’ll fight for the badge of a lifetime and put their scouting skills to the test to save mankind from the undead.
The post Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse – Exclusive Set Visit Interview: Christopher Landon appeared first on Dread Central.
Today marks the release of the incredible 80’s-inspired post apocalyptic sci-fi/horror adventure Turbo Kid, which I raved about in my review, where I awarded it an Editor’s Choice badge.
The synopsis for Turbo Kid reads:
In a post-apocalyptic future, The Kid, an orphaned outcast, meets a mysterious girl. They become friends until Zeus, the sadistic leader of the Wasteland, kidnaps her. The Kid must face his fears, and journey to rid the Wasteland of evil and save the girl.
You can find listings for theaters in your area at the Official Turbo Kid Website.
Directed by Jeremy Wooding
While some new blood definitely needs to be shed in order to spruce up the tired old werewolf format of horror, why not stick em in the Old West? Funny thing is, it works pretty damn nicely! Beware the Blood Moon.
Director Jeremy Wooding takes the hairy savage lycanthrope and drops it smack in the middle of a western, complete with bank robberies, stagecoach rides, shootouts, and MAYBE even an occasional lady of the night (but only if you’re lucky). The movie blasts out of the gate with a brazen heist at a local bank by the Norton brothers, Jeb and Hank (Raffaello Degruttola, Corey Johnson) – they’re short-fused and now on the run from the law, and with only one dependable man for the job (Fox), he decides against his better judgement to enlist the help of an Indian woman known as Black Deer (Eleanor Matsuura), whose biggest problem is not knowing when to put the booze bottle down. This is going to be an interesting pursuit, for sure. Her assistance in the chase is dropping some knowledge about the “skinwalkers” who were kicked out of their tribe for practicing such black arts, and when the moon turns red, they come out to hunt.
Enter Calhoun (Dooley), a steely-eyed, bad-ass cowboy with a quick draw and even quicker wit – he and a full stagecoach of travelers are taken hostage by the Nortons and held up at a deserted saloon, and it’s not too long (actually it is) before we get some werewolf violence, front and center. The film is fun as much as it is goofy and staged, but the idea of a rampaging beast tearing through a western town is interesting to behold, aside from the hokey dialogue and LONG stretches of it, by the way. When the final third of the movie gets rolling, it’s completely off of its wagon wheels, and that’s when the fun really begins.
Gore? Not too much to speak of, but when there is some bloodshed, it’s admirable in both presentation and production – bodies are ripped in half, and throats are slashed with some decent arterial sprays. Now, the werewolf on the other hand… I’m not going to leap so far as to say the look was cheesy, but I think the notion of NOT showing the full costume for more than a few seconds at a time was a wise one indeed.
Dooley is fun to watch as the tough-guy cowboy with a sharp tongue, and the work of Degruttola and Johnson as the bank-robbing Nortons is equally entertaining, even if it looked at times as if they were reading out of the rootin-tootin cowboy handbook for a more effective old west image. Nonetheless, I could recommend this for those who want a nice twist on their wolf-watching, and regardless of the lack of style and substance with Blood Moon, it’s a howling good time. Jeez, that was bad – my apologies.
12 Hours. 4 Killers. No Way Out.
Bloody Disgusting scored the U.S. poster for Tiger House, a new slasher starring Kaya Scodelario, Tom Cullen, and Dougray Scott releasing on VOD in October through Magnet.
Directed by Thomas Daily, I can’t stop but feeling like Tiger House was inspired by Adam Wingard’s You’re Next.
“One fateful night, troubled teenager Kelly sneaks into her boyfriend Mark’s house to deliver some sobering news: she’s pregnant.
But tonight, she is not the only unwelcome visitor: an armed gang breaks in. Mark’s father Doug manages a bank and the gang plan on using Doug’s help to carry out a daring heist using his captive family as leverage.
Their plan quickly unravels when during the ensuing struggle, the gang’s leader Shane gets injured and is left on Mark’s bed fading in and out of consciousness. Unbeknownst to the intruders, a terrified and vulnerable Kelly is only inches away under the very same bed.
From her cramped hiding position, Kelly overhears everything and now knows too much, putting her life in terrible danger.
Now, Kelly must draw on all her reserves of strength and her skills of dexterity, to escape. As the situation spirals out of control, the suburban house becomes a terrifying arena for violence. Faced with no alternative, she must turn and fight back.“
Here’s the U.S. Tiger House trailer.
With a title like I Can’t Escape: Darkness, do I really need to bother explaining what the game’s about? Well, I’ll do it anyway for you reading pleasure. You’re trapped in a spooky dungeon. There are things in the dungeon that want to kill you. You need to escape.
Perhaps the developer Fancy Fish Games can explain it better in their official description:
“I Can’t Escape: Darkness is a quicksand trap for the senses – the more you listen and look for clues, the deeper you fall into a damp, living dungeon. Plunge into the depths and scrape together whatever tools you can find, then try to escape one of the most diabolical puzzles of all time!”
A follow-up to I Can’t Escape, the game will be released on Steam on September 17, 2015 for $12. Watch the creepy as hell trailer below:
Universal and Legendary Pictures shared all released images and one-sheets for Guillermo del Toro’s long-awaited gothic horror Crimson Peak.
The new haunter stars Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam and Jim Beaver.
“When her heart is stolen by a seductive stranger, a young woman is swept away to a house atop a mountain of blood-red clay: a place filled with secrets that will haunt her forever. Between desire and darkness, between mystery and madness, lies the truth behind Crimson Peak.”
Legendary Pictures’ Crimson Peak, in theaters October 6, 2015, is a haunting gothic horror story directed by the master of dark fairy tales, Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy series, Pacific Rim), written by del Toro & Matthew Robbins.
When a recent “Creepy’s Take” bemoaned “Hannibal’s” cancellation, a few readers took us to task, along with our peers on the other horror sites, for not doing enough to push people in the show’s direction. Perhaps, but I put the blame on NBC for not doing more to promote it and for not working with sites like ours to a greater extent so that we’d have info to “push” out in the first place.
But pointing fingers is… well, pointless. After Saturday night’s episode, it will all be Chianti under the bridge anyway.
So, what should replace “Hannibal” in your DVR’s rotation? We’ve compiled a Top 10 list of our current favorites – some new, some that will require a bit of catch-up – plus our best guesses of what’s coming down the pike that you should keep your eyes on.
Honorable mentions that just missed the cut include “Penny Dreadful” and “Sleepy Hollow,” two shows that have had rough patches but are primed for a comeback; “Westworld” and “American Horror Story: Hotel,” a pair that we just can’t predict with any real confidence; and no-brainer cross-genre phenoms “The X-Files” and “The Walking Dead” that surely need no help from us.
Of course this list isn’t one size fits all; some things will appeal more to women than men, the younger crowd versus those of a more advanced age like myself. But they all share a similar level of quality, and you should find at least a handful that are worth carving out two or three hours each week to keep up with.
We’ll kick things off with two oldies but goodies that both get a bit of a bum rap among people who haven’t watched them…
“Supernatural” (Season 11 begins October 7, 2015, on The CW)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Supernatural” described as “that dumb CW show with the pretty-boy brothers.” It certainly wouldn’t have lasted as long as it has if there wasn’t a lot more depth to it than that! It’s comparable to “Buffy” in that it treats its audience with respect and knows how to retain a loyal fanbase. While I would have been perfectly content to see the series end after Season 5 as originally conceived by its creator and first showrunner, Eric Kripke, I’m not averse to spending a few more years with the Winchesters as long as current head honcho Jeremy Carver can continue tweaking the formula enough to keep it feeling fresh. (Pro tip: If you do decide to give this one a shot from the beginning, watch the DVDs/Blu-rays rather than on Netflix so you can enjoy the soundtrack as it was meant to be.)
“Grimm” (Season 5 begins October 30, 2015, on NBC)
I’m not sure why the horror crowd hasn’t been more supportive of “Grimm” – it has an extremely likable cast (comprised of actual adults no less!), a trendy Portland locale, and some kickin’ monsters (aka Wesen). Granted, the transformation scenes are loaded with CGI and the gore factor is light (it is a network show, after all), but the characters and storylines are interesting and relate to those classic fairy tales and legends we all grew up on. Season 1 was a bit rocky, but over the past few years “Grimm” has more than hit its stride, and after the way Season 4 ended, our enthusiasm for it has been ramped up even higher.
With TV being the new vehicle for remakes of popular horror films, our next group fall in the category of shows that have made the transition from the big to small screen…
“From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” (Season 2 is under way now on El Rey Network)
When word first came that Robert Rodriguez would be re-imagining his universally beloved From Dusk Till Dawn as a series, fans weren’t sure what to expect. What we got was a helluva lot of fun so as we embark on Season 2, which promises more of the same and then some, we can’t help but wonder why we’ve heard so little from our readers about the show. Maybe El Rey Network isn’t available where you live? In any event, this is one that’s worth seeking out.
“Bates Motel” (Season 4 will air in 2016 on A&E)
“Bates Motel” has been met with a mixed response from the horror community (our own MattFini recently took a swipe at it while boohooing the recently announced “Friday the 13th” series on The CW), but for this writer, it’s been a winner from the start. A dream cast with incredible chemistry paired with imaginative, offbeat writing that’s both spooky and icky (the Norman/Norma relationship has certainly made us squirm more than once) has resulted in my second favorite show on this list. I can only echo Jinx, who wrote at the end of Season 3: “I, for one, cannot wait [for next season]. Hats off to A&E and the creative forces behind “Bates Motel” for making one of the best damned shows on television!”
“Ash vs. Evil Dead” (Season 1 begins October 31, 2015, on Starz)
We’re going to make our first prediction now and say you better mark your calendars to remind you to call your cable TV provider on October 30th to turn on Starz so you can watch the premiere of “Ash vs. Evil Dead” on Halloween night. The Comic-Con trailer blew our minds, and everything revealed since then has just gotten us even more excited.
The intimacy and immediacy of the television medium are a perfect match for depicting disasters, especially when they lead to the post-apocalyptic setting found in so many of our contemporary hits…
“The Strain” (Season 2 is under way now on FX)
If you’ve been part of the crowd who feel vampires have lost their bite lately, you should already be well aware of how great “The Strain” is at portraying them as the monsters we’ve always known they can be. The acting is all over the place, but despite that, the characters are developed just well enough to get you rooting for them as the story progresses. Flashbacks are used minimally but effectively. If you can soldier through Season 1 and get caught up to where they are now, the payoff is well worth it.
“iZombie” (Season 2 begins October 6, 2015, on The CW)
Another show people seem to have preconceived notions about is “iZombie.” I found it to be a true bright spot among the latest influx of genre-themed programming to hit the airwaves (and have happily heard from more than a few of our readers who agree with me). Rose McIver isn’t quite up to Tatiana Maslany’s level (if you don’t get the reference, stop reading right now, watch a few episodes of “Orphan Black,” and then come back); but her ability to “become” different people each week is pretty awesome. And David Anders is a blast as her nemesis, Blaine. Actually, everyone on the show shines; and the writing is sharp, snappy (in a good way), and smart. Wow – that’s a lot of alliteration so let me add one more “s”: See it!
“Fear the Walking Dead” (Season 1 is under way now on AMC)
Sticking to the zombie theme, “Fear the Walking Dead,” gives us the other end of the spectrum in terms of gritty realism. It just kicked off this past weekend, and with only six episodes in its freshman season, how can you not at least give it a shot? It’s rare we get the chance to watch society break down from Day 1 of the apocalypse. Plus, if you do like it, you’re already guaranteed more since Season 2 has already been confirmed.
Putting our wizard’s cap back on for a moment, we bring you our final prediction…
“Damien” (Season 1 will air in 2016 on A&E)
Glen Mazzara… Bradley James… Barbara Hershey… A&E. We really didn’t need to know much more about “Damien” than those four things to be excited about this direct sequel to The Omen, but after seeing the show’s marketing campaign at this summer’s San Diego Comic-Con, we really fell in love with it. It could turn out to be a disappointment, but for the time being we’re staying cautiously optimistic and urge you to do the same. “It’s all for you, Damien!”
And now we end with our favorite currently airing horror TV show…
“Salem” (Season 3 will air in 2016 on WGN America)
What more can we do to convince you to watch “Salem”? Week in and week out when it’s on the air, we sing its praises. Talk about a show that pushes boundaries! It’s dark, it’s daring, and its production values are through the roof. The cast and guest star roster are second to none (both Lucy Lawless and Stephen Lang have given Emmy-worthy performances), and now that they’ve given Shane West’s character a haircut, even he blends into the times a lot better. You may not be a fan of period pieces, but if you’re a fan of horror, “Salem” should be in the same #1 spot on your DVR as it is on ours.
Agree with our picks? Think we’re off our rockers? Chime in with your favorite current horror TV shows in the comments section below!
The post Top 10 Horror TV Shows You Need to Have on Your DVR appeared first on Dread Central.
Whip out your Wii U, because we finally have that final release date for Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. The supernatural spookfest will arrive in North America on October 22, putting its stateside release between Japan (Sept 27) and Europe (Oct 30). For some reason, the game will only be available on the Nintendo eShop, and while I’m inclined to complain about that, I’m not going to look a ghost horse in the mouth.
Fatal Frame will run you the not-too-scary price tag of $50, but there will be a demo — consisting of the prologue and first chapter — available to download the day of its release.
Edited by Andy Cox
Published by TTA Press
Issue 47 of Black Static hits the asphalt with James Van Pelt’s opening story, On the Road with the American Dead, wherein travelling salesman Jeremy Lowe finds his usual relaxing cross-country drives interrupted by the random appearance of ghosts in his car.
Some talk to him, revealing snippets of their past lives – regrets, successes and lasting grudges – while others remain silent… but they all come and go with equal abruptness. Initially shocked by this peculiar new routine, Jeremy soon learns to cope with it before one particular visitor refuses to be ignored – insisting on teaching Jeremy the importance of remembrance, and the stories of lives that need to be told.
At its core, On the Road with the American Dead is a simple tale, awash with sentimentality but assuredly not maudlin with it. A few nice touches of humour pep things up as Jeremy tries his best to blank out his unwelcome passengers and, ultimately, the central message is a worthy observation of the human condition.
Kate Jonez follows up with All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck. Here, teen Jessup is a girl apart from the normal world. She refers to herself as a shadow, an opinion formed from her role in her family’s ongoing trade – thievery and con-artistry.
As a group, Jessup, her mother and two younger sisters travel the US, occasionally settling town in small towns for a bit. In well-practiced form, the others create a distraction in crowds whilst Jessup, the pickpocket, moves silently amongst the marks, relieving them of wallets, purses and loose cash.
In this particular instance they’re in the backwater town of Frederick, Oklahoma, kicking off a job at the carnival. Things don’t go exactly to plan, however, and Jessup soon finds herself wandering the site accompanied by the local sheriff’s wayward son, Calvin. As events take a seemingly inevitable path given the setting and character types, Jonez brings us instead toward an ending that feels allegorical, perhaps mythical… but just a bit too perplexing to work.
The puzzling (and somewhat unbelievable, given the circumstances at the background of the story) ending notwithstanding, however, All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck is a wonderfully written tale with a dazzling sense of place about it. Jonez brings the sights and sounds of the carnival alive, and even the most minor of characters are ably brought to life through a perfect economy of words.
As mentioned, the path of Jessup’s evening feels predetermined as soon as she engages with Calvin, an element which Jonez uses to keep the reader firmly on track towards the inevitable train wreck – but the attempted rug-pull just doesn’t work as well as it should.
Next up is John Connolly’s Prohibition-era nightmare, Razorshins. Following a number of inconsistencies and missing product, bootlegger Tendell Tucker finds himself and his crew accompanied on their latest run by brutish enforcer Mordecai Blum. Reporting to gangster kingpin King Solomon, Blum is all business and all fury – a quiet, yet powerful and wholly unpredictable force of the criminal underworld.
When heavy snow sets in, Tendell opts to spend the night at the home of local moonshiner Earl Wallace, hoping to stash the cars and booze away from the potential eyes of the authorities while waiting out the snowfall. A violent disagreement over whether to leave an alcoholic offering for the mythical beast Razorshins sees events take a dark turn – and darker still when the penalty for failing to heed tradition raises its malevolent head.
Simply put, Razorshins is a stonking piece of work, holding just about everything it takes to keep yours truly wholly satisfied when it comes to fiction. Perfect pacing, a powerful sense of foreboding and the-worst-is-going-to-happen-but-when-is-that-going-to-be unpredictability pull you through every line until the bloody, monstrous climax. A thoroughly brilliant read.
The issue’s traction takes a slow with the next story, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam’s The Devil’s Hands, wherein a young woman named Cocoa lies awake at night, listening to the laboured breathing of the monstrous creature that lives in her bathroom at night. Rather than an outright monster piece, however, Stufflebeam’s story concerns itself with Cocoa’s own laboured existence.
Fractured from society, she’s an occasional prostitute of sorts for her roommate — slacker “artist” Vincent – and thoroughly unhappy with her lot. Taking drugs before family dinner and having to step away due to subsequently tripping balls isn’t quite as telling her mother’s nonchalant, semi-defeatist response to the situation – but by the end, the path to personal redemption becomes most definitely open to her.
The problem with The Devil’s Hands is that, whilst it’s an appreciably realist look at the frustrations of a life stuck spinning wheels in mud, it’s rarely unsettling and ultimately lacking in a sense of threat. The prose is perfectly toned in the same manner as Cocoa’s disheartened floatation through daily existence, but it’s difficult to find personal concern for her even as the final confrontation with the monster unfolds toward an ending which, admittedly, is nicely tuned to a reluctant sense of hope.
Ray Cluley takes things down a much more assuredly dark path with his grim character study When the Devil’s Driving. Teenager Lucy is a goth-like social outcast who spends her days lurking at the shore of Devil’s Basin – a fetid local pool nestled away in the woods – where she smokes cigarettes, offers silent worship to Satan and imagines all of the brutal killings she could enact on her preppy schoolmates.
One day, her lounging and fantasising is interrupted by the arrival of a younger schoolgirl, who takes an inquisitive liking to Lucy’s sarcastic, rebellious nature. Awful things await for the pair of them, however, and Lucy soon finds herself on a rapid ride into hell – literal or allegorical, you decide.
Cluley’s formidable skill at drawing well-rounded, but profoundly damaged characters is out in force in When the Devil’s Driving, painting a thoroughly disturbing and deeply shocking story of a lost cause run riot – someone so far removed from, and philosophically starved by, the norms of society that the most supreme kind of personal destruction feels more like a finish line than something to be afraid of.
Or perhaps, Cluley offers, it’s a starting line. Because when the Devil’s at the wheel, who knows where you’re off to next.
Finally, this issue’s fiction rounds off with Eric J. Guignard’s superbly realised post-apocalyptic yarn A Case Study in Natural Selection and How it Applies to Love. In a future scorched Earth, humanity is on a downturn. Settlements work to survive in camps surrounded by desert and desolation, carrying on with normal life in the hope that soon either the planet, or the efforts of human science, will find a resolution.
There’s another big issue, though. One that isn’t easily investigated…
Spontaneous Human Combustion… colloquially referred to as “fireballing”.
Without rhyme or reason, people pop, spark and burst into flame – immolated in moments due to some unknown combination of factors.
Amidst all of this lies schoolboy Kenny, who lives with his scientist father in the relatively civil settlement of Stockton. Navigating the general situation of humanity, Kenny also struggles with his place in a love triangle – hoping against hope to gain the affections of his crush, Liz… but she’s into their more physically capable friend, Ogre.
Guignard paints Kenny as a smart, reasonable kid, so while he laments the situation, he isn’t crass enough to do anything untoward about it. It makes for a pleasant read, following the cognisance of an intelligent youngster who more than understands the state of affairs around him. Whilst not pinned down by needless negativity, he also isn’t bound by foolish optimism – and all of this plays out within an excellent drawn world and central scenario that would easily lend itself well to fiction of a broader scope.
Meanwhile, Stephen Volk plays further with his knowledge of Alfred Hitchcock in his column (which he also ably demonstrated in the excellent novella Leytonstone) and Lynda E. Rucker continues her everlasting quest to dissect just what it is that makes horror so appealing to the human psyche.
On top of that, there’s an extended Q&A with author Ray Cluley and Black Static‘s usual quality lot of book, TV and film reviews. All in all, yet another excellent issue that is easily worth dedicating some shelf space to.
Last October, the makers of Outlast announced their plan to follow up one of the most frightening horror games in recent memory with an even scarier sequel. Aside from our knowing that it exists in some form, the game is likely going to remain a mystery to the general public for some time. The plus side to it’s still being a ways off is, at least for the time being, Outlast 2 is malleable.
As terrifying as the first game was, there’s always room for improvement. If you have any specific issues with it that you’d rather not see get repeated in the future, or if you feel like there are missed opportunities worth pursuing in the sequel, this is the time to speak up.
In a recent post on Red Barrels’ Facebook page, the developer asked their fans what they would like to see from the next game. After skimming through the feedback offered up by the community so far, the general consensus is the sequel will need to be bigger, scarier, have better AI and some female characters. Even if the lack of ladies in the series up to this point was a strange oversight, it did inspire some disturbing questions that I wouldn’t mind seeing answered in Outlast 2.
What would you definitely want to see in Outlast 2:
A) Bigger areas to explore
B) Smarter enemies
C) More lore
D) Chris Walker
E) Something else?
The mystery surrounding the disappearance of nine hikers in the Ural mountains in 1959 has spawned dozens of theories and perhaps as many dramatic reimaginings. Not only that, the truth is equally as unsettling as the fictional counterparts.
The Dyatlov Pass incident involved nine hikers ripping through their tents and fleeing barefoot through deadly cold temperatures, and while none of them sustained defensive wounds indicative of an attack, two died from skull fractures and the rest froze to death.
The case remains largely unsolved, which has only fed the rumor mill of mystical speculation. It’s a chilling scenario, and a reminder of the violence that exists somewhere between humanity and the beyond.
Which sets the stage for Kholat, named after a geographical area surrounding the Dyatlov Pass. Based on the description above, you’d probably be surprised to find out that the game itself is kind of a mixture of Dear Esther and John Carpenter’s The Thing.
With a solid score, beautifully-rendered environments, and a learning curve that requires more than merely pixel hunting, Kholat is a bizarre but enjoyable game for the horror fan who’s seen everything.
Let’s start where the game excels. Graphically, Kholat is a piece of work. It does suffer from some lagginess and framerate issues, at times, but for the most part, the world is about as wonderfully conceived as a barren wasteland can be, and it provides the game with a depth many similar titles just don’t have.
It’s easy to get lost in the world, both literally and figuratively, but that’s okay, given the lushness of the surroundings. Not to mention the fact that it’s also a pretty big world, as well. But we’ll get to the ample, Mordor-ish levels of walking you’ll endure in a little while.
I must also take the time to say that Kholat takes its sweet time. With every possible moment, the game is an exercise in forced patience. You walk — it’s very cold, y’all — and can only run for moments before giving out of breath. Imagine an emphysematic octogenarian, and you’re on the right track.
Everything about the game is…intentional. Your trek along the frozen pathways in an attempt to find several specific longitudinal areas significant to the game’s plot, and sometimes it will require Herculean patience. Before I actually recognized the endgame, I kind of wandered around for hours, just kind of hoping to land on the right gameplay method to figure things out.
But Kholat isn’t structured that way. The game bends your playstyle to its will, and the sooner you give in, the better off you’ll be. See, the walk-aimlessly-until-you-find-something method will only get you so far. You’ll actually need to rely on your trusty compass / map combination to get where you need to go. Otherwise, you’ll just walk in wide, confusing circles until you get frustrated and give up.
And that’s basically the whole game. It sounds boring, but it’s not. I loathed my first few hours of the game, but only because I played it the way I mentioned above. Had I dug in and figured out the basic mechanics sooner, I would have had plenty of fun with it in the beginning. Once I started to use the map and compass, to really play it like a true adventure game with puzzle-y elements, only then did I catch what the game was putting out there.
It’s really about coordinating the compass and the map to find the game’s different areas. I got into a rhythm with it and had some fun, especially once I uncovered the first few area checkpoints.
Along the way, you’ll encounter fiery shades that will kill you outright, and you’ll die if you tumble off the side of a cliff, but for the most part the game’s horror is derived from its sense of atmosphere. You won’t die very often, but when you do, it will be frustrating, especially if you’re looking for a particular spot on the map and get sent back to your last save point.
Luckily, there’s a rudimentary fast travel system. You have to unlock various tents around the map, and even finding journal entries will save the game, but you can save and move around with some quickness, if you need to. It’s not altogether daunting if you keep the game’s main focus in mind. It’s easy to get caught up in listening out for the scattered journal pages left in the snow (a la Slender: The Eight Pages), but the actual in-game story stuff should only take 4-5 hours to beat.
Nevertheless, Kholat has its fair share of problems, and they cannot be ignored. It’s a fairly shallow game, in terms of not just mechanics but variety of experiences. When I say that you’ll be wandering around a lot, that is no joke. Walking is the game, and the only real break comes when you glance down at the map or listen to audio logs. Other than that, it’s snowy drifts for you.
Plus, the load times are epic. They are more than epic. They are mega epic. Several times, I thought my computer had frozen — see what I did there? — before realizing that, no, it was just that Kholat loads like a PS1-era game.
The most damning criticism of the game comes in the form of story. As a minor fan of unsolved murders — hey, I write for a horror site — there’s a lot to be interested in with the Dyatlov Pass incident. Unfortunately, very little of the interesting stuff makes it into the game.
For me, the story in Kholat was a bunch of pseudo-scientific and overtly mystical gobbledygook, and I’m a fan of mystical gobbledygook, generally. It doesn’t really make any sense, and when combined with an ending that is equally as obtuse, the effect of finishing the game is kind of a letdown.
The voice acting is good — Sean Bean makes an appearance as the ostensible narrator — but there just isn’t enough of it. Some of the journal entries have a voice actor, and some do not, and I often found myself waiting for it to begin before just reading it myself. A few more voiced interludes would have added some weight and some heft to the otherwise anemic story beats within the game.
My second biggest complaint about is that the environment is really the star, and so it should also be the main villain. Sure, falling off the side of a mountain is deadly, and some booby traps mark a few spots in the forest, but the temperature acts only as a mere impediment to traversal, not as a real threat or danger in the game. I could honestly care less about the demonic spirits wandering around the snow, because there is something fundamentally more horrifying about the natural phenomena extant on this side of a mountain that could be plumbed for material.
Overall, Kholat presents an interesting addition to the abundance of horror-adventure games of the last few years. It’s got enough style to balance out the underwhelming substance of the story. It looks great, plays pretty well, and presents some interesting visual aesthetics.
The Final Word: Give Kholat a try if you’re a fan of Dear Esther or Slender: The Eight Pages and want something a little off the beaten path.
When Techland first unveiled the gargantuan expansion that is Dying Light: The Following, it sounded like it would be a big deal. With a world that’s larger than every environment in the main game combined, as well as new loot and dune buggies, it was immediately clear that this DLC would be well worth its paltry $15 price tag — and definitely worth it for season pass owners, who won’t need to drop another penny for it.
If you weren’t sold on The Following, these videos ought to do the trick. The first comes from a recent Twitch stream the developer hosted in order to show off the upcoming DLC, and the second is the reveal trailer from earlier this month.
Red Granite Pictures, the production team behind The Wolf of Wall Street and Horns, is developing a psychological horror film based on an idea from Joey McFarland. The film is as-yet-untitled.
According to Variety:
The film is centered around a young medical technician as he begins to experience disturbing and unexplainable events while treating a mysterious female patient who suffers from night terrors.
McFarland and Red Granite Pictures co-chairmen and co-founder Riza Aziz will producer the film based on a script that is being written by Seth W. Owen (The Runaround).