I’ve been a long time “The Walking Dead” fan. Before the series was even announced, I had been reading the comic for years, and loved it. Being that it’s so incredibly drawn out, the announcement that AMC would bring it to series was cause for celebration. Only, everything something went wrong. I understand that a lot of you guys love the show, and I respect that, but I really wish there was a way to make it better (or even better for those of you who tune in weekly).
Unfortunately, after four seasons, I think the nail is in the proverbial coffin for the adaptation of the Robert Kirkman comic series. Even the print version of the show has become long in the tooth, and feels like it’s being stretched for the coin, instead of doing what’s right for the story.
This brings me to AMC’s announced “The Walking Dead” spinoff, which Kirkman already revealed that follow “another group of characters, surviving in another part of the world.” It’s a chance at a clean slate, as Kirkman also revealed that it would not “use any of the core cast from” the current show.
Adding more fuel to the fire, Comicbook.com discovered a bit more info out of the the letter column section of “The Walking Dead” #125. When asked if indeed the comic would start following a new group of survivors in Issue #127, Kirkman did not shoot the idea down. Instead, Kirkman replied, “No comment. Read 127.”
However, as far speculation that AMC’s “The Walking Dead” spin-off TV series might follow either past or upcoming storylines in the comic book series, it appears that will not be the case. Kirkman wrote, “For the TV spinoff, I’m coming up with that stuff. It’s unrelated to the comics. What’s happening in issue 127 is in no way connected to the spin-off TV show.”
So, with this new spinoff, it’s clear that AMC and Kirkman will be starting from scratch, which is just what the doctor ordered. I, for one, am extremely excited!
The folks behind the surreal survival horror game Grave have released a new video that offers a behind-the-scenes look at their strategy to get unsuspecting strangers to spend their tax returns on their game. In an ideal world, everyone would just buy Grave, because it’s a fantastic game that’s as unsettling as it is weird.
Thankfully, some people need to be sold on it, and it’s because of this that we got this amazing video.
There are only eight days left in the game’s crowdfunding campaign, which, for some reason, is still way short of its $30,000 goal. You can help remedy that by supporting it on Kickstarter.
And here’s my playthrough of the game’s demo, in case you missed it the first time around.
Written by T. Blake Braddy, @blakebraddy
Jesper Kyd’s distinguished career as a freelance composer spans more than two decades, and his singular style has earned him numerous distinctions, including a 2005 BAFTA for the dark electronic score to Hitman: Contracts.
Kyd has created music for Borderlands 1 and 2, the Hitman and Assassin’s Creed series, and State of Decay, just to name a few. His most recent work can be heard on the second season of the Metal Hurlant Chronicles, which premiered Monday, April 14 on SyFy at 8 pm. Samples of the soundtrack are available on Mr. Kyd’s website and his Soundcloud account.
He was kind enough to grant an interview with T. Blake Braddy, in which he discusses his influences, the evolution of game music over the years, and the differences between composing for games and television.
BD: It has been reported elsewhere that you are mostly self-taught. In what ways do you think that has affected your approach to music and composition?
I think it allows me to constantly push my music forward and mix different music styles and genres together. For me it’s always been about trying to define a score by being creative and unique in order to find a sound that goes deep, which then becomes tailor-made for the project. If you listen to my Assassin’s Creed, Darksiders or Hitman music, for example, and in a few seconds can recognize the scores, then I’ve done my job.
I enjoy composing soundtracks that go beyond the typical orchestration styles and I like to experiment with different sounds rather than relying on traditional orchestral techniques only. For example, Hitman Contracts was a mix of DJ-style electronic music and choir, Assassin’s Creed II was a mix of Renaissance music styles combined with a modern edge (electronics, guitars, drums, vocals), Darksiders II was analog-synth based and not a traditional fantasy score.
BD: Did you decide to be a composer because you loved video games, or did you gravitate to the medium due to the music itself?
Great question! When I started out playing games on the Commodore 64 I didn’t really know much about video game music…Before the C64 all I remember hearing was some “bleeps” and “bloops” instruments that used to play such as the theme from Kings Quest 1 on PC. The C64 music chip was an amazing analog chip and the phrase “chip music” started to be used to describe C64 music.
I was a big fan of Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis and Mike Oldfield in my childhood and once I heard Martin Galway, Rob Hubbard and Tim Follin’s C64 music in games, it was like no music I had ever heard before. To make music like Vangelis was unobtainable, I simply did not have access to that kind of gear, synths etc. But I did have a C64 so I started making music every day, and I have been composing ever since.
BD: Recently, you did the music for the television show the Metal Hurlant Chronicles. What major differences exist between composing for television and composing for games?
I think it’s a bit easier to compose for linear visual media. Once you understand how music works in film/TV, it’s relatively straightforward to apply. But in games there are so many challenges with having to score for something that’s not there (if the game is early in production) or having to kind of guess what the mood needs to be since there are so many ways to play a game.
Basically, for me it comes down to working with creative people who are supportive, who understand that making the music fit the game will not be some miraculous event but that it takes hard work and going back and changing things, trying new things, learning from things that don’t work and taking some creative risks.
BD: What similarities, if any, do you see in your most recent work – Metal Hurlant Chronicles – and some of your earliest? Does going back and listening to earlier compositions show a through-line for how you put together a soundtrack?
With every soundtrack I learn something new and so I feel I keep moving forward. Learning never stops. So perhaps if you listen to my early Sega Genesis work and listen through to my work today, I’m sure you’ll hear where I started to focus on what etc. One thing that has not changed is my love of unique ideas, using creativity (not just technique), mood and atmosphere to tell a story.
BD: I’m sure that designing music for games has changed drastically since the Commodore 64, but how have the lowered constraints opened up the approach to a game’s audio design?
Well, the C64 was 3 channels of pure analog bliss but there were no samples or recognizable instruments. These days we work a lot with live orchestras and choirs. It couldn’t be more different really. Of course the role of music is still the same, to set the mood and enhance the experience/story with music.
BD: How early into the game development process are you brought in to start composing music? Do you play the game at all, or are visuals basically all you need?
I often play the game as there’s just so much guess work involved if you don’t know the feel of the game and how it plays. Sometimes I create an entire score based on concept art, but that can only be done if you are working with a really supportive audio department. Having access to the same visual assets (concept art, for example) can really help you understand what the development team is trying to achieve. Sometimes the game doesn’t come together until the score is almost done, so you have to learn how to write the score without certain elements.
BD: How much freedom do you have in determining the auditory aesthetic of the score? Do the developers give you notes on what they want, or do they give you free reign to design the game’s musical aesthetic?
I find that for most of my projects I get a lot of artistic and creative freedom. I think perhaps that is what I am known for, to bring something creative or unique. But to hire me and say you want it to sound like this or that score, well there are probably better suited composers for that. I often get crazy ideas and try out new things to see what the team thinks.
BD: Video game music seems to be a very challenging field, because it has to command the player’s attention and accentuate the experience without distracting from gameplay. Does that ever influence how you approach a piece of music, and how do you think of music in terms of how it interacts with the on-screen experience?
I think music should enhance and deepen the gameplay experience. It’s there to give the world life and emotion. Imagine Blade Runner with the music playing in the background (at low volume), the movie wouldn’t work – that score is meant to be noticed. So that’s what I try to do as well, write music that grabs the player’s attention and thereby enhance the game world a lot, perhaps put some magic and mystery in there. Like “Ezio’s Family” from Assassin’s Creed II – that music was played loud and clear at a key moment and so people noticed it and reacted to it.
BD: You’ve had a historic career, full of a wide array of projects. In almost every conceivable way, Metal Hurlant Chronicles is way different from, say, State of Decay. How do you adapt to and approach different genres? Is there any sort of learning curve for the kind of instrumentation the game demands?
If you keep challenging yourself there is a learning curve on each score. I love creative challenges and that can add a sense of freshness in the music since you kind of have to be fearless when writing this way. For example, I had never written an orchestral cue before I was asked to write a purely orchestral soundtrack for Hitman 2. That was my first orchestral score and it was an amazing experience to work with a live orchestra and choir.
BD: To build on this, the music on State of Decay is especially eerie. It almost has the jangly vibe of early horror, like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Are you a fan of horror movies and games at all?
Yes, I am a huge horror fanatic! I have probably seen every horror film worth watching from the 1970s and 1980s. 1970s horror is my favorite, especially the early David Cronenberg movies.
BD: Do the PS4 and Xbox One offer even more potential in terms of music? What, if anything, excites and interests you about developing for the new platforms?
I’m really excited about the potential of next-gen games. Music will follow the game experience, so if there is something really crazy in development, I’m sure crazy music ideas will follow along with it.
BD: What can you say about the projects you’re currently working on?
Well, I am working on a new sci-fi game, the Lifeline expansion for State of Decay and some other exciting projects I can’t talk about yet.
Rupert Evans plays a film archivist who uncovers a film reel that shows that their house was the subject of a multiple murder in 1902. While he explores this reel – The Canal isn’t found-footage, to be clear – his wife is murdered and he becomes the focus of the investigation, as his life tumbles out of control.
The Canal is a classic ghost story, one that burns slow but with might. It requires extreme patients but offers some extremely unsettling rewards. Kavanagh delivers haunting imagery mixed with stunning camerawork. As Evans’ character loses his mind, he’s being haunted by a “shadow” of an old man, one who appears in chilling nightmares and in the background of footage.
Kavanagh’s film relies heavily on the atmosphere and mood to create suspense, and the constant bizarre imagery and tremendous sound design help deliver in spades.
And while The Canal is brooding, it will test the patients of some viewers, and could really use a more impactful finale. Still, it’s refreshing to see a filmmaker show such restraint and put together such an old-school genre haunter.
Of all the slasher franchises that have sprung up over the last 30 years, I find that I have the most personal connection with Halloween. The 1978 original was the first horror movie I genuinely fell in love with – those elegant wide shots, that spine-tingling score, those autumn leaves twirling through frame – and it was a staple of my late-night movie-watching ritual as a teenager. The rest of the series doesn’t hold quite the same nostalgia for me (although Halloween II comes close, due to it so often being screened back-to-back with the first movie in the weeks leading up to Halloween), but luckily every single one of the films – minus the anomaly of the third installment – feature Michael Myers, for my money the greatest of all slasher-movie killers.
And he’s nothing if not prolific. As a matter of fact, in the span of films stretching from Carpenter’s 1978 original to Rob Zombie’s highly polemical Halloween 2 “remake” released just last year, Myers has claimed a whopping 110 victims. And while he’s not as creative a killer as contemporaries Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger (though with Krueger it’s really not a fair comparison – he can manipulate people’s dreams for chrissakes), none of those others are capable of wielding a good old fashioned kitchen knife in quite the same way. Sometimes, simplicity is key.
Now, after much contemplation – and in honor of the quickly-approaching holiday that shares the series’ name – following are my picks for the top ten kills in the Halloween franchise (yes, that includes the Rob Zombie films!), culled from a field of over one hundred. My process was simple – I simply watched every single kill from every single film (ah, such a tough life) while judging them on their creativity, realism, atmosphere, and overall visceral impact – and then narrowed it down, slowly, to my top ten (not an easy task; for me it was kind of like having to choose which child I loved the best). At the end of the day I know many B-D readers will wholeheartedly disagree with my choices, but no one can say I didn’t do my research.
Victim: Karen (Pamela Susan Shoop)
Film: Halloween II (1981)
Method: Scalded/Drowned in Jacuzzi Tub
Instead of watching her infant patients like a good healthcare provider would, smokin’-hot nurse Karen just had to fuck around by taking a skinny dip in the hospital’s Jacuzzi with boyfriend Budd (that’s two “d”s). In other words, she kind of had it coming. Her death – definitely a highlight of the film – is particularly memorable due to the fact that it’s just so damn disgusting. After poor, wolfish Budd is dispatched with a tight cord around the neck, a clueless Karen – following a brief make-out session with Michael Myers’ hand – is repeatedly dunked by the merciless killer into the scalding-hot water of the Jacuzzi tub, until you can actually spot the nasty flaps of burnt skin hanging off her face. I know it sounds bad, but I actually really enjoy watching the final dead-weight flop of her right arm as she’s brought up for the last time and then dumped to the cold, cold floor like a dead fish. Gee, now who’s going to neglect the newborns?
Victim: Doctor (Fred Lerner)
Film: Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Method: Face Smashed Through Bars
This super-raunchy kill just goes to show that even the most minor of characters can sometimes suffer the most heinous deaths. Rushing from an operating room where the rest of his colleagues have just been massacred by Myers, the unfortunate doctor has his head smashed through a set of bars by the maniac after the two hit a dead end and, well…Myers needs to get to the other side. The awesomeness of the kill pretty much speaks for itself, but it does go along with a couple interesting bits of trivia: 1) This scene was part of the extensive re-shoots (an entire new ending was filmed) done on the movie after some less-than-stellar test screenings. Due to an apparent conflict in George P. Wilbur’s schedule, A. Michael Lerner was hired to play Myers for these additional scenes, meaning the Myers you see on screen during this kill is not portrayed by the same actor as in the first 2/3 of the film. 2) Even more interestingly, the man playing the doctor is none other than Lerner’s father Fred Lerner, who was a stunt coordinator on Halloween 4 (patricide!) 3) The original kill scene in the “producer’s cut” was much gorier than what was actually shown in the theatrical version. Due to fears of being slapped with an NC-17 rating, the messiest bits – shots of the doctor’s face actually separating into three sections and flopping to the floor – had to be excised by the director. Luckily, bootleg copies of the producer’s cut have been widely circulated around the Internet for the last several years, and below you can view a side-by-side comparison of both versions of the face-through-the-bars kill scene by one of the series’ (presumably virginal) uber-fans. Ladies…he’s available.
Victim: John Strode (Bradford English)
Film: Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
As quite possibly the worst sequel in the history of the original franchise (though once could also make an argument for both Part 5 and Resurrection), Halloween 6 nevertheless boasts its share of sweet-ass kills. This one features Michael’s relative John Strode, as he’s electrocuted in the basement of the original Myers home in spectacular fashion. Let me lay it out for you, since the below clip doesn’t really do it justice: 1) Michael stabs Strode through the belly and out the other side; 2) Michael lifts the heavy man off the floor (in an incredible display of strength, I might add); 3) Michael stabs the blade poking out of Strode’s back into the fuse box, with Strode caught in the middle; 4) Strode convulses wildly as the electrical current courses through his body; 5) We get an exterior shot of the house, where the lights can be seen flickering on and off rapidly through the windows; 6) Back on Strode, now foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog as sparks shoot out all around him; 7) Close up on Strode’s hand, which now resembles a hunk of meat left too long on the barbeque; BOOM! Strode’s body blows the fuck up. See what I mean?
Victim: Lynda van der Klok (P.J. Soles)
Film: Halloween (1978)
Method: Strangulation with telephone cord
True to the nearly blood-free nature of the first film there’s none of the red stuff to be seen, but this is nevertheless (arguably) the most iconic kill in Carpenter’s original. This one was partially so effective due to the great, suspenseful build-up, as the clueless Lynda can’t see past her need for beer to realize that the dude under the sheet with the glasses is in fact not her boyfriend (he’s downstairs pinned to the kitchen wall, see), and then Myers’ slow, agonizing march toward the poor dumb girl as she gets up to dial Laurie on the telephone (“this night is going nowhere!”). For me, the creepiest element of the scene is the fact that Laurie doesn’t realize that her friend is being murdered at the other end of the receiver (not to mention just across that eerily still suburban street). When you think about it, the scene is really a pure distillation of the unholy alliance between sex and death that’s so often trafficked in by the slasher film; the combination of Myers’ frantic, murderous breathing and Soles’ strangled, orgasmic cries as she fights for her life is the stuff of nightmares.
Victim: Misty Dawn (Sylvia Jefferies)
Film: Halloween 2 (2009)
Method: Face Smashed Repeatedly Against Mirror
I love myself a creative kill as much as the next horror freak, but sometimes there’s no substitute for a good ol’ head-bashing – particularly if its filmed by Rob Zombie, who has few peers when it comes to the bone-crunching fury of his murder scenes. In this one, trashy stripper Misty is grabbed by the back of the head and, well, smashed to a bloody pulp in the nightmarishly red-and-blue-tinged back hallway of a seedy small-town strip club (the swirling lights of the disco ball are also a nice touch). Like most of the deaths in the film, there’s just something so horribly real about it (much of that is due to the top-notch editing job; the first time I watched it the cuts truly never registered). The film itself certainly has more detractors than fans (my opinion lies somewhere in between), but if you watch the kill scenes in isolation they are a triumph of no-holds-barred realism; the fact that you come away from them feeling the need for a scalding-hot shower certainly isn’t something you can say about the kills in most slasher flicks.
Victim: Judith Myers (Hanna Hall)
Film: Halloween (2007)
I know what you’re thinking: how could I have chosen Judith’s death from the remake over the far more iconic P.O.V. kill in the original? My answer: because I can. The 1978 version of the murder is certainly effective, but I actually prefer Zombie’s take on it – and this is coming from someone who absolutely hated the film. It again goes back to my argument that while the director (so far) lacks the focus needed of a great storyteller (not to mention an ear for dialogue that isn’t groaningly hammer-headed), he has a real knack for staging visceral, unsettlingly realistic murder scenes. Watch it again if you don’t believe me. From that first vicious stab to the gut, to the prolonged, bloody stalk down the hallway followed by a vicious slashing from behind (accompanied by great screaming from actress Hanna Hall and some wicked knife-slicing-flesh sounds), it’s hard to deny just how well the scene works in isolation as a slice of pure-blooded, unsentimental horror that couldn’t be much different from Carpenter’s original interpretation.
Victim: Jamie Lloyd (J.C. Brandy)
Film: Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Method: Impaled on a Corn Thresher
Talk about creativity – whoever came up with this kill must surely be some kind of a twisted genius. While it would’ve certainly been great to see Danielle Harris – the original “Jamie Lloyd” – speared through with the blades of a corn threshing machine (I mean that as a compliment), this is still a strikingly effective and horrific murder that lingers in the memory long after the muddled awfulness of the film has subsided. Not to say that its effectiveness was merely due to the creativity of the method – even the most unique of murders can fall flat if not filmed properly – but rather the way in which it was conceived as a rather protracted and multi-layered kill. First there’s the shock of the initial impalement – so surprising due to the fact that the corn-threshing machine isn’t even set up – which is then followed by a deeper impalement (owie), before finally…Myers turns the damn thing on. Now that’s some shit.
Victim: Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris)
Film: Halloween 2 (2009)
Method: Slashed/stabbed to death
Yes, I know the initial “kill” takes place off-screen (though we do witness Annie in her dying, blood-soaked throes later on), but nevertheless it works so well precisely for what we don’t see. One thing I will say for Rob Zombie’s Halloween remakes (particularly the second film) is that he’s able to sporadically wring some genuine pathos from them; despite all of his indulgences as a filmmaker (and there are many, some welcome and many not) he clearly has a soft spot for these characters. Case in point: Annie Brackett, who unlike in Carpenter’s original lives to see the sequel, albeit with facial scars that have rendered her a near-recluse. As a result we get to know her much better than we did in the ’78 film (in which she was essentially written as a clueless victim with no indication of a deeper emotional life), and so when her death actually comes it’s actually kinda heartbreaking, not to mention horrifying. While Zombie certainly deserves much of the credit – that slo-mo shot could have been cheesy but instead seems ripped from a nightmare – some must also go to star Danielle Harris. The Halloween veteran can scream with the best of them, and her painful wailing during the off-screen attack – at one point you can actually hear her bellowing “owowow!” – is undeniably hair-raising.
Victim: Nurse Daniels (Octavia Spencer)
Film: Halloween 2 (2009)
In spite of its uneven overall quality, Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 is nevertheless an ambitious piece of work that features some incredibly brutal and disturbing kills; this one, featuring a nurse being stabbed repeatedly in the back by Myers as she crawls along the floor, is possibly the most brutal of all. It’s really a perfect combination of elements – Spencer’s pitch-perfect wail as Myers mercilessly stabs her over and over (and over and over and over) again, the startlingly persuasive sound effects as the knife plunges through flesh and bone, the masterful editing, the convincing heaps of gore (blood has rarely looked so real on screen). I much prefer Carpenter’s original incarnation of Myers as a silent and mysterious killer, but there is also something to be said for the no-holds-barred, brutal honesty of Zombie’s murder scenes. I heard one critic describe the kills in Halloween 2 as being akin to real-life war footage, and I have to agree – they’re nothing if not convincing, and this is the one that has stuck most in my mind.
Victim: Annie Brackett (Nancy Loomis)
Film: Halloween (1978)
Method: Strangulation/Slit Throat
Bitch all you want, but it’s not my fault the character of Annie Brackett has inspired two great kill scenes. I first watched the original Halloween in my early teenage years on broadcast cable, and as a result Annie’s death was edited down to a brief “grab and slash”. Not until I saw the original, unedited version on VHS a couple years later did I realize just how horrifyingly drawn-out her murder really was. The strangulation alone is a full 30 seconds of writhing, gasping, and honking, as Annie desperately attempts to alert the neighbors to her plight, but really the entire scene is a masterstroke of suspense – from the close-up shot of the car door handle (wasn’t it locked just a minute ago?), to the fogged up windshield, to that first burst of nerve-jangling music and then on to the strangle and slice, for my money this is the greatest kill ever in the Halloween franchise. Sure, it might not be the goriest or the most clever, but therein lies a clue to its power – its simplicity and comparative realism puts us right in that driver’s seat with Annie, in those high yellow socks and plaid overshirt, squirming and choking and then…dying. If nothing else it’s that final, brilliant shot through the fogged-up window that truly makes this scene a work of art: Annie’s eyes going wide as Myers opens up her throat…the light leaving them as she slumps to the steering wheel…the final blast of the car’s horn substituting for the awful human scream that never came, and never will again.
We missed "Grimm" last night, but as the series ramps up for its final four episodes of the season, an early sneak peek has arrived of next Friday's Episode 3.19, "Nobody Knows the Trubel I've Seen," in which Nick brings home an unexpected guest.
"Grimm" Episode 3.19 - "Nobody Knows the Trubel I've Seen" (airs 4/25/14; 9-10PM)
A LETHAL NEW PRESENCE COMES TO PORTLAND – Nick (David Giuntoli) and Hank (Russell Hornsby) investigate a dangerous female suspect (guest star Jacqueline Toboni) leaving a trail of Wesen in her wake.
Elsewhere, Adalind (Claire Coffee) takes measures into her own hands, even if that means forging a dangerous alliance.
Bitsie Tulloch, Silas Weir Mitchell, Sasha Roiz, Reggie Lee, and Bree Turner co-star. C. Thomas Howell, Alexis Denisof, and Philip Anthony-Rodriguez also guest star.
Leigh Whannell heading back into The Further.
If FilmDistrict and Sony Pictures are going to hit their targeted April 3, 2015 for the Whannell-penned Insidious: Chapter 3, they better get a move on.
Whannell, who co-created Saw with James Wan, penned both Insidious films, and also starred in both as “Specs” (above left), one half of the ghost hunting duo, hit Twitter with a brief update on the sequel.
“Insidious 3 is a lot more like part one than two,” he reveals. “I’m working on it right now, so thought I’d tell those who care where it’s headed.”
Word from the inside is that the third film will be bringing back Lin Shaye’s character as well as both ghost hunters Specs and Tucker.
Insidious 3 is a lot more like part one than two. I'm working on it right now, so thought I'd tell those who care where it's headed.
— Leigh Whannell (@LWhannell) April 18, 2014
ABC Family isn't a network we mention very often around these parts, but news that they've given a pilot order to a "paranormal crime procedural drama" called "Stitchers" caught our attention so we're bringing it to yours!
Per Deadline, "Stitchers," written by Jeffrey A. Schechter ("Overruled!"), follows a young woman recruited into a covert government agency to be “stitched” into the minds of the recently deceased, using their memories to investigate murders and decipher mysteries that otherwise would have gone to the grave.
Schechter executive produces alongside Jonathan Baruch and Rob Wolken. Production is slated to begin in June.
Sound intriguing? We'll keep our eyes open for casting updates and more details to see if it warrants further coverage.
Is the killer a beast?
We now have the promo for next Friday’s “Hannibal”, episode 2.09 “Shiizakana”, which begins when a grisly discovery prompts the FBI to question if the killer was man, beast… or both!
“The FBI is called in to investigate the discovery of a truck driver’s body, seemingly torn apart by two separate species of animal working in tandem, neither of which consumed their kill. After one of his therapy sessions, Will (Hugh Dancy) meets Hannibal’s (Mads Mikkelsen) strange new patient, Margot Verger (Katherine Isabelle). Will and Margot compare notes on Hannibal and his unconventional advice. Continually encouraging his patients to revel in what they are, Hannibal aims to determine Will’s true self by sending him a test, the results of which surprise even Hannibal.”
Also starring Aaron Abrams, Scott Thompson and Jeremy Davies.
We got a look at the premiere of WGN America's "Salem" a little early and are here to give you an idea of the seductive sorcery the series is offering plus provide a peek behind the scenes at the "Secrets of Salem."
Witches are hot properties on TV right now, and yes, they are the focus of the show with the horrific Salem, Massachusetts, witch trials ramping up and full-blown mass hysteria just around the corner. But these aren't your garden variety witches, and the storyline encompasses a much darker world than we're used to seeing on network TV.
In "Salem" there are also demons and wheeling & dealing with the devil, some very strange goings-on with a toad, a seemingly possessed woman being led around town like a rabid dog on a leash - and that's just in the first episode!
Plus there's nudity and blatant sexuality veering very close to HBO and Showtime standards. Actually, it's classic "almost" nudity, and if you thought Alexandra Daddario's shirt was tenacious in Texas Chainsaw 3D covering up her private parts, wait until you see the tricks they pull in "Salem"!
It's not just the women who are showing their skin either. The men are just as carnal and apt to be a witch. And corruption runs deep. Fortunately, "Salem" isn't pulling any punches when it comes to portraying the hypocrisy of the church and the townsfolk who were accusing others of witchcraft.
Related Story: Visit our "Salem" Archive
It may not be completely historically accurate, but just about everyone is a real historical figure like John Alden (Shane West) and Cotton Mather (Seth Gabel), with the recently announced Increase Mather (Stephen Lang) soon joining the fray, and so far it doesn't feel too contemporized. Obvious parallels are made to today's issues, but it doesn't beat you over the head with them. Nor does it take itself too seriously. (But again… that's only "so far" after watching just the pilot so don't blame us if it takes a downward turn like so many promising shows sadly do.)
The acting is decent overall. He may be a little vanilla, but I've been a fan of West since "Once and Again," and the standout newcomer for me is Ashley Madekwe as Tituba. Plus, it's always great to see Xander Berkeley, who looks fabulous with period-appropriate long hair, by the way (as does West). The costumes, sets, and atmosphere are all quite impressive - and oppressive, just like those Puritanical times.
So our verdict is yes, you should tune in for the premiere of "Salem"... unless you're only looking for something geared toward the younger crowd. In that case, you probably shouldn't as there isn't a single emo teen or high school dance in sight!
“Salem,” premiering on Sunday, April 20th, enters the world of the most notorious witch trials in history, a period steeped in fear, suspicion, and hysteria. “Salem” explores what really fueled the town's infamous witch trials and dares to uncover the dark, supernatural truth behind them.
Note that the pilot episode runs a bit over an hour so if you're DVRing it, be sure to add on an extra 10-15 minutes so you don't miss the ending.
"Salem" Episode 1.01 - "The Vow" (airs 4/20/14)
John Alden returns from war to discover that the woman he left behind is now married to another man and that his hometown of Salem, Mass., is in the midst of a witch panic in the premiere of this supernatural drama.
Created, executive produced, and written by award-winning writer/producer Brannon Braga and Adam Simon, “Salem” stars Janet Montgomery as the ruthless but vulnerable Mary Sibley, Salem’s most powerful enchantress; Shane West as handsome, hardened war veteran John Alden – and Mary’s onetime love interest; Seth Gabel as local aristocrat Cotton Mather, who fans the flames of Salem’s witch hunt; Ashley Madekwe as Mary’s mysterious, carnal accomplice, Tituba; Xander Berkeley as chief politician Magistrate Hale; Tamzin Merchant as the forthright Anne Hale, an artist with a perilous attraction to Alden; Elise Eberle as the mysteriously afflicted Mercy Lewis; and Iddo Goldberg as outcast Isaac Walton.
Keep your eyes on the "Salem" Facebook page for updates and more info.
We don't quite know what to think about this news. Back in May of last year, word was that Cabin Fever: Patient Zero would be rebooting the franchise and kicking off a new trilogy. Now things seem to have changed...
Bloody Disgusting is reporting that sources at Cannes have told them that Indomina will instead put a remake of Eli Roth’s 2002 love-it-or-hate-it original Cabin Fever into production now that Patient Zero is arriving on VOD June 26th and in theatres on August 1st via RLJ/Image Entertainment.
Evolution Entertainment, which produced the first three Saw films as well as Dead Silence and Death Sentence, will be producing the remake with Cassian Elwes and Evan Astrowsky. It's doubtful Roth will lend much more than his name to this one.
The original, Roth's directorial debut, is an offbeat horror tale about a group of five college friends on vacation at a remote mountain cabin. After one of the friends contracts a flesh-eating virus, it quickly spreads among them, and their true feelings and personalities emerge as they struggle to survive the virus... and each other.
We'll have more as it comes.
Although we're not sure "Hannibal" will ever be able to top tonight's #TURDUCKEN insanity, we can't wait to see the powers-that-be try in next week's Episode 2.09, "Shiizakana." Here's a preview of what's ahead.
"Hannibal" Episode 2.09 - "Shiizakana" (airs 4/25/14; 10-11PM)
The FBI is called in to investigate the grisly discovery of a truck driver’s body, seemingly torn apart by two separate species of animal working in tandem, neither of which consumed their kill.
After one of his therapy sessions, Will (Hugh Dancy) meets Hannibal’s (Mads Mikkelsen) strange new patient, Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle). Will and Margot compare notes on Hannibal and his unconventional advice. Continually encouraging his patients to revel in what they are, Hannibal aims to determine Will’s true self by sending him a test, the results of which surprise even Hannibal.
Also starring Aaron Abrams and Scott Thompson; guest starring Jeremy Davies.
On June 26 RLJ/Image Entertainment will be releasing Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, a sequel to Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever that was produced by Indomina.
Originally, Indomina had planned on shooting back-to-back sequels, with the fourth film in the franchise being the cruise ship-themed Outbreak, penned by Adam and Deborah Marcus. The film was scrapped.
Now, sources at Cannes tell Bloody Disgusting that a remake of Roth’s classic 2002 cabin-in-the-woods splatterfest will go into production – without Indomina.
Evolution Entertainment, who produced the first three Saw films, as well as Dead Silence and Death Sentence, is producing with Cassian Elwes and Evan Astrowsky are producing the remake, without Indomina. No word on Roth’s involvement, but I’m assuming he won’t be actively involved.
The original, released by Lionsgate, followed a group of five college graduates who rent a cabin in the woods and begin to fall victim to a horrifying flesh-eating virus, which attracts the unwanted attention of the homicidal locals. Jordan Ladd, Rider Strong, James DeBello and Cerina Vincent starred.
Ti West directed the 2009 direct-to-DVD sequel, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever.
There will probably be no pancakes in this remake…
On the prowl for a new horror poster to gander at while you're waiting for the weekend to kick off? Then check out the first one-sheet for the next Chiller TV original horror flick, Animal, from Drew Barrymore's production company, Flower Films.
Animal, which airs later this year on NBCUniversal-owned Chiller after a limited theatrical and VOD run, follows a group of close-knit friends who find themselves stranded in unfamiliar territory, pursued by a bloodthirsty predator.
Holed up in isolated cabin, tensions mount as secrets are revealed. As the body count rises, the group members put their differences aside and fight for survival.
Keke Palmer, Amaury Nolasco, Parker Young, Joey Lauren Adams, Elizabeth Gillies, Paul Iacono, Thorsten Kaye, and Jeremy Sumpter star.
Barrymore is an executive producer alongside Flower Films’ Nancy Juvonen and producers Chris Miller, Ember Truesdell, Kelly Smith, and Thommy Hutson. Hutson and Catherine Trillo penned the script, which is directed by Brett Simmons. Gary J. Tunnicliffe created the creature effects.
Brandon Ford is a horror author whose works we've covered and reviewed fairly extensively here at Dread Central so when he dropped us a line with word on his latest project along with the cover art, of course we had to share!
A twisted and often unsettling glimpse into the mind of an unwitting victim, Open Wounds tells the story of a young girl’s battle to maintain her safety and sanity after she is preyed upon by a savage predator.
The first cut brings a wave of calm that immediately washes over her. The second, an incomparable bliss. The third, euphoria in its purest, most absolute form.
She finds only the slightest comfort in scrawling the details of her horrific tale onto the pages of a leatherbound diary. But when her living nightmare becomes more than she can bear, the only comfort she finds is beneath the blade of a paring knife. Night after night, she slices into her own tender flesh while praying for some escape from a world filled with anguish and torment.
Before long those leatherbound pages are dripping with crimson, and soon open wounds become ripples of scar tissue.
The Scream Factory has been releasing the very best of our genre's stranger side with Criterion-like editions that we'd never have thought some of these movies would get. Every once in a while though... they dig up something we've never even heard of!
From the Press Release
There’s a new address in sheer terror. On May 27, 2014, SCREAM FACTORY™ invites loyal fans and horror enthusiasts to experience terror more profoundly with supernatural shocker HOUSE IN THE ALLEY on DVD.
Boasting a large cult following overseas and a film festivals favorite, HOUSE IN THE ALLEY is a gripping haunted house thriller that exposes the weaknesses of the human psyche and deftly combines suspense, horror, and emotional dramas. Written and directed by Le-Van Kiet, the film is about a couple who slowly lose their sanity, haunted by the traumatic death of their son and the paranormal disturbances in their house from an unspeakable past. A must-have for horror movie collectors and loyal fans, the HOUSE IN THE ALLEY DVD is priced to own with a suggested retail price of $14.93.
A young couple, settling into their new life in their spacious home, lose their newborn to a miscarriage. After the tragedy, Thao is inconsolable and won’t let her baby’s body leave the house. She soon begins suffering from terrifying visions and slowly loses her sanity. Her husband, Thanh, also begins experiencing strange things around their home, and when his wife turns on him, he must race to uncover the secrets of the house in the alley before they both lose their minds... and their lives.
Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen’s Flower Films banner has debuted the poster for their new film “Animal”, which airs later this year on NBCUniversal-owned Chiller after a limited theatrical and VOD run.
The film, “follows a group of close-knit friends who find themselves stranded in unfamiliar territory, pursued by a blood-thirsty predator. Holed up in isolated cabin, tensions mount as secrets are revealed. As the body count rises, the group puts their differences aside and fights for survival.”
Keke Palmer, Amaury Nolasco, Parker Young, Joey Lauren Adams, Elizabeth Gillies, Paul Iacono, Thorsten Kaye and Jeremy Sumpter star. Thommy Hutson and Catherine Trillo penned the script and the film was directed by directed by Brett Simmons. Gary J. Tunnicliffe created the creature effects.
Screening as part of the ongoing Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, the indie film Preservation has just shared a new clip. It looks like a bad Ash Wednesday for these injured folks trying to make it out of the woods! And hey! Ken Cosgrove!
Actor Christopher Denham takes his second turn in the director’s chair with whats’s said to be a finely crafted horror-thriller starring Pablo Schreiber (“The Wire,” “Orange is the New Black”), Aaron Staton (“Mad Men”), and Wrenn Schmidt (“Boardwalk Empire”).
“Three family members head deep into the woods for a hunting trip that doubles as a distraction from their troubles at home. When all of their gear is stolen, they turn on each other, but soon realize there are much more treacherous forces at work.”
Friday, April 18th at 9:00pm – AMC Village VII 1 (66 Third Ave at 11th St)
Saturday, April 19th at 1:30pm – Bow Tie Cinemas 9 (260 W. 23rd St, btwn 7th and 8th) P&I SCREENING
Thursday, April 24th at 11:30am – Bow Tie Cinemas 4 (260 W. 23rd St, btwn 7th and 8th) P&I SCREENING
Friday, April 25th at 10:00pm – Bow Tie Cinemas 5 (260 W. 23rd St, btwn 7th and 8th)
Christopher Denham's Preservation had its world premiere last night during the Tribeca Film Festival, screening as part of the Midnight section of films, and on tap right now is the first clip to go along with the movie's remaining TFF schedule. Dig it!
Written and directed by Denham, Preservation stars Wrenn Schmidt, Aaron Stanton, and Pablo Schreiber.
Actor Christopher Denham takes his second turn in the director’s chair with this finely crafted horror-thriller starring Pablo Schreiber ("The Wire," "Orange is the New Black"), Aaron Staton ("Mad Men"), and Wrenn Schmidt ("Boardwalk Empire"). Brothers Sean and Mike Neary, along with Mike’s wife Wit, head out on a hunting trip that doubles as a distraction from their troubles at home. But ignoring the “closed” sign and heading deep into an overgrown nature preserve, they soon find their troubles are only beginning. When all of their gear is stolen, they immediately turn on each other. But the hunted can only survive so long standing alone. Just when you think you have heard the story before, Preservation twists into a sharp and startling take on why we fight and, in our tech-obsessed age, what we have been missing out on in the great outdoors.
As a special Easter treat we're happy to present to you, our fellow loonies, the opening six minutes of the new slasher flick Easter Sunday! So get ready to color your eggs blood red (which incidentally is the title of our favorite rejected Herschell Gordon Lewis script).
A gory love letter to the golden era of slasher movies, the indie film Easter Sunday is written and directed by Jeremy Todd Morehead and stars horror legends Robert Z’Dar and Ari Lehman.
Easter Sunday's dynamic cast boasts Robert Z’Dar, the iconic actor best known as Maniac Cop; Ari Lehman; the first actor to portray Jason Voorhees in the original Friday the 13th; and indie veterans Edward X. Young (Mr. Hush) and Shawn C. Phillips (Ghost Shark). They join a number of promising up-and-comers including Paige Taylor, Christine Galbraith, William Bozarth, Jon McKoy, and Travis Marion.
Northgate Pictures has released N4red The Boogeyman's music video for Easter Sunday's theme song, "Eggsecuted." Done in the spirit of such classic film theme songs as "Are You Ready for Freddy?," "Maniac Cop Rap," and "The Monster Squad," N4red's hip-hop track captures the film's tongue-in-cheek tone. The "Eggsecuted" video also features exclusive footage from the movie.
Easter Sunday follows a group of teens who accidentally conjure the spirit of Douglas Fisher, a deranged, bunny mask-clad serial killer. Fisher is portrayed by Jason Delgado, who also serves as the film's producer.
Delgado explains the film as follow: "We are trying to bring forth a vision of '80s gore and real brutality on our limited budget. We want to bring people a film that will be fun, fast-paced, and filled with edge-of-your-seat tension. I'm humbled to be working with so many talented individuals."