XLrator Media released the trailer for their action-thriller Camino (read our review) starring Zoë Bell (Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, Death Proof) and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, Open Windows, VHS Viral) in a rare acting role.
Set for VOD release March 4th, “Set in 1985, war photographer Avery Taggert (Zoë Bell) has built a solid career with her stark and honest imagery, all the while remaining emotionally distant from her subjects. When she embeds in the jungles of Colombia with a squad of missionaries led by a beloved and charismatic Spaniard known as “El Guero” (Nacho Vigalondo), she finds herself in the middle of a conflict as violent as any she’s photographed. One night, she happens upon El Guero committing a heinous atrocity, capturing the vile act on film, an image with the potential to discredit and destroy El Guero. Knowing this brilliant psychopath will employ every tactic at his disposal to destroy that photograph – and the photographer who took it – Avery flees into the harsh jungle with nothing but the camera hanging around her neck to escape from missionaries twisted into violent guerrillas by the madman intent on destroying all enemies.”
Fully financed and produced by Bleiberg Entertainment, the film will be released on XLrator’s “TURBO” action label.
Camino was directed by Josh C. Waller, who previously collaborated with Bell on Raze, written by Daniel Noah (Max Rose, McCanick), and produced by Waller, Noah, and Ehud Bleiberg (The Iceman).
Nicholas Donnermeyer and Barry Gordon executive produce along with Bell and Vigalondo. Bleiberg Entertainment and Red Granite International subsidiary Blue Box International are handling international sales at the Toronto International Film Festival.
On February 23rd, get ready for a double dose of ‘80s horror with the release of The Curse and Curse II from Scream Factory!
Available on Blu-ray for the first time, fans can pre-order their copies of this double feature by visiting ShoutFactory.com.
“Life on the family dairy farm is difficult for young Zach Hayes (Wil Wheaton, Stand by Me): hard work, long hours and the normal family squabbles. But after an ice-blue meteor plunges through the midnight sky and lands on their property, it gets worse. Zach and the local doctor discover that something inside the meteor is infecting the local water on their farm. Fruits, which look perfect on the outside, are teeming with worms… and Zach’s family is beginning to change… hideously!”
This shocker is directed by actor David Keith (Firestarter, White of the Eye) and co-stars Claude Akins (Tentacles), Malcolm Danare (Christine), Cooper Huckabee (The Funhouse) and John Schneider (Smallville). The original theatrical trailer is included as a bonus feature.
CURSE II: THE BITE
“Two young lovers, Clark (J. Eddie Peck, Kyle XY) and Lisa (Jill Schoelen, The Stepfather), traveling through the desert unwittingly pass through an abandoned nuclear test site which has become a breeding ground for deadly mutant killer snakes. When Clark is bitten, he undergoes a grotesque transformation into a hideous snake monster!”
This chiller filled with slithering horror also stars Jamie Farr (M*A*S*H), Shiri Appleby (Roswell) and Bo Svenson (Walking Tall Part II).
YellowBrickRoad filmmakers Andy Mitton and Jesse Holland are back with a new supernatural thriller, We Go On, which will have its World Premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, with screenings at Cinema 12 on Saturday March 5th at 9:30pm, Sunday March 6th at 1:30pm, and Saturday March 12 at midnight.
We Go On stars Annette O’Toole (Stephen King’s “It,” “Smallville”), Clark Freeman (YellowBrickRoad), John Glover (Gremlins), Giovanna Zacarías (The Legend of Zorro), Jay Dunn, and Laura Heisler.
“We Go On follows Miles Grissom, who is offering reward money to the first person who can show him a ghost, an angel, a demon – anything to prove there’s life after death. He narrows the responses to three viable candidates – a scientist, a medium, a worldly entrepreneur – and along with his protective mother, he embarks on a dangerous adventure through Los Angeles that will spiral into an unthinkable nightmare.”
We’re getting really excited for the upcoming period zombie film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which looks to be violent, gory, and thoroughly entertaining! And to celebrate the movie’s impending release, we’ve got our hands on a very cool visual soundtrack sampler that gives you a taste of the music of composer Fernando Velázquez (Devil, The Orphanage, Crimson Peak).
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies focuses on the Bennett sisters – Elizabeth (Lily James), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), Mary (Millie Brady), Jane (Bella Heathcote), and Kitty (Suki Waterhouse) – several badass women who have been trained to brutally slay the undead.
The events in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies begin with the tangled relationship between lovers from different social classes in 19th century England, and is complicated by a full on outbreak of zombies.
The film stars Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston, Bella Heathcote, Douglas Booth, Matt Smith, Charles Dance, and Lena Headey.
The music for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes out digitally on February 5th, the same day as the film’s theatrical release, and on CD February 19th via Varèse Sarabande Records.
The next Friday the 13th is back at square one. But before Prisoners‘ Aaron Guzikowski was recently attached to do his own page one rewrite, “Hannibal’s” Nick Antosca took his own stab at the mythology of Jason Voorhees.
He speaks with Necronomicast about being hired by Paramount Pictures and Platinum Dunes to move away from found-footage, which was the original plan when Southbound‘s David Bruckner was attached to direct.
“[Paramount and Platinum Dunes] had a found-footage draft, and then I came in and did a page one rewrite [to] rethink, to some degree, making it not found-footage,” he explains as to what he was hired to do when Bruckner was already aboard as director. “I worked really closely with him. His idea from the first meeting was he wanted [Friday the 13th] to really have likable, real characters, and to be set in the 80’s.”
In a recent interview Bruckner stated that he a coming-of-age monster movie in the spirit of Dazed and Confused.
Antosca confirms this direction adding that “Jason shows up and shereds everybody.”
“And that’s what we did. That was the plan and we had a great time. [It was] an incredibly fun and rewarding creative experience,” he continued. “Awhile later I heard they decided not to do it in the 80’s. I’m bummed they didn’t do the draft [but] I’m more bummed that David is not on the project [anymore].”
This is where Antosca rips out my heart and cuts it up with a machete: “When I was working on Friday, I went back and watched the Paramount ones, multiple times, because that was the spirit we wanted – starting with the 80’s Paramount logo and all that.”
Say what?! Kill me now. It sounds as if they really had a fun and unique new direction to the franchise. Now, I’m worried we’re going to get yet another cookie-cutter interpretation of the original that’s more like a direct remake than something with a rejuvenated spirit.
Back in 2005, NECA launched their Cult Classics line of figures, which was more or less their version of McFarlane Toys’ Movie Maniacs line. The Cult Classics line only lasted three years, but it gave fans some great figures. One of which was of Leatherface from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I never got around to grabbing Leatherface back then, but late last year, Leatherface joined Freddy as the next slasher icon in the Ultimate figure line. Given how awesome of a job NECA did with Freddy, Leatherface was destined to be too good to pass up. I know that this figure’s been out for a few months now, but really, this one deserves your attention.
As with other figures in the line, Leatherface comes in a collector-friendly windowbox package, recreating the poster art for the film. The back of the box features the film’s premise, accompanied with shots of the figure and accessories. The interior art behind the figure is of the iconic moment of Leatherface standing in the doorway with his hammer. Great stuff.
Those of you who snagged the retro figure of Leatherface in his classic outfit know the fantastic job NECA did in recreating Leatherface in figure form, and with the Ultimate version, it’s once again an outstanding job. The figure stands at 7″ tall, and has Leatherface in a slightly hunched look. The mask is actually a separate piece that’s glued onto the head instead of the head being just a single piece. The detail in Leatherface’s mouth also done in great detail with his gnarled teeth and lips. The figure’s clothes feature sculpted wrinkles, seams and stitching, and the paint detail is nothing short of amazing. The skin has been given a couple of paint washes to get across an appropriately grimy look. Dust and dirt have been applied realistically, and without any smearing. What does smear (appropriately, mind you) is the blood on Leatherface’s apron, which again, has been done in a realistic fashion without just having it applied nonsensically. Speaking of the apron, instead of being sculpted in soft rubber, the apron actually made of a faux-leather material that is separate from the figure. You can remove the apron if you want, but you’ll have to tie it in the back if you want to put it back on. Small details, such as the mud on Leatherface’s pants and boots, as well as the bracelet on his left hand and his tie, are again done with great care.
Leatherface features over 25 points of articulation. The head is on a ball joint, although because of the hunched sculpt, can’t look up as far. Still, the figure can look left and right, and the head moves side to side without problems. The arms are on pin-and-socket joints, and can move outward and up and down. They aren’t hindered by the sculpt at any point, and have the right amount of tightness. The elbow bends roughly at 45°, and can rotate side to side. The hands are on a ball joint, and can rotate all the way around without problems.
The waist is on a ball joint, and can swivel Leatherface side to side, as well as move up and down. The sculpt does hinder the movement slightly, but it’s not that big of a problem. The legs are also on a pin-and-socket joint, and can move up and down, inward and outward, as well as rotate without problem. The legs also bend at the knee and can rotate, and the feet are also on ball joints that can move and rotate freely. All of the joints are appropriately tight, and don’t flop around at all.
As usual for the line, NECA has a boatload of accessories to go with Leatherface. First off is the interchangeable head, which is the Old Woman Mask, and like the regular Killing Mask head, is done in amazing detail, and again the mask was originally a separate piece glued onto the head. The heads can be popped off with some effort, and they fit nice and snug on the pin. The Old Woman head features the same amount of movement as the Killing Mask head.
Following that is the chainsaw, which has equally-impressive detail as the figure itself. Not only is the sculpt done showing things like vents, the actual chain on the saw and more, the paint detail is spectacular. The blood, metal and dirt on the saw are exquisite. Very nicely done. The hands are sculpted as such to allow the figure to hold the saw and the other accessories in either hand, as well as give you the ability to recreate some of Leatherface’s iconic poses. Also included is the hammer, a meathook with an appropriately bloody end, a meat cleaver and a knife. All of the accessories are again done in great detail with nicks and scratches, and the paint on each brings them to another level. While the nitpicking in me would’ve liked to have seen a bucket of body parts to complete any sort of diorama ideas, what’s here is more than enough for fans to get going.
Really, this figure deserves the title of Ultimate. From the sculpt, to the paint, to the articulation and to the accessories, this is quite simply the best Leatherface figure you can get in this size. NECA has done a spectacular job once again, and it’s really a no-brainer to pick this one up. And, with the announcement that Chop-Top and Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 would be getting the retro-style treatment, fans of the series have a lot to look forward to.
Terror Films has acquired the US rights to the horror film The House On Pine Street by directors Aaron and Austin Keeling, Bloody Disgusting can exclusively report.
“The story revolves around Jennifer (Emily Goss) who is seven months pregnant and reluctantly returning to her hometown in Kansas after an unexpected mental breakdown. Coping with her fears of motherhood, a strained relationship with her husband, Luke (Taylor Bottles), and the overbearing presence of her own mother, Meredith (Cathy Barnett), Jennifer struggles to regain control of her life. But when strange things start happening in their new rental home, Jennifer begins to fear that it may be haunted. Alone in her convictions, Jennifer is forced to question her sanity as she attempts to find out what, if anything, is plaguing the house.”
The directing duo also co-wrote and produced the film along with Natalie Jones and Monique Thomas.
Terror Films closed the deal with James Fler from Canadian based International Sales Rep and Distributor, Raven Banner Entertainment. Terror Films executive, Joe Dain who negotiated the deal stated, “The House On Pine Street is a fantastic haunted house film. We couldn’t be happier to be doing business with Raven Banner. Their taste in quality horror films is top notch.”
Fler adds: “We at Raven Banner are thrilled at the opportunity to be working with Terror Films for The House On Pine Street‘s US release. Always exciting to be able to work with like minded companies and people, who are not only professional, but just as importantly, true genre fans at heart.”
The House On Pine Street was an official selection at 14 domestic and international film festivals including New Orleans Horror Film Festival where it won the Best Feature award, Nocturna Madrid International Fantastic Film Festival, Molins Horror Film Festival, and the Kansas International Film Festival. The film is currently slated for a wide ancillary release this summer with a possible limited theatrical run being considered. Terror Films will revamp the film’s current poster and trailer, which were created by E3W Productions, prior to the film’s official release date.
Here’s a sweet look at Giulio De Santi’s first-person apocalyptic horror Hotel Inferno.
Follow a contract killer on the job as the hunter becomes the hunted of demonic monsters in these uber gory stills.
“Hitman Frank Zimosa is hired for a lucrative mission by a rich client. The objective: kill two people in a hotel. But this simple job soon becomes a nightmare as an army of insane henchmen and monsters are waiting for him, all under the control of an ancient and unstoppable demon – now Frank must fight his way out with any weapon he can get his hands on.”
These have to be some of the best indie-produced special effects I’ve seen in quite some time. With Hardcore also arriving this summer, Hotel Inferno looks like the perfect horror compliment.
It’s great to see a film shot and projected on film at Sundance. Too bad they didn’t know how to record sound. Half the locations drown out the actors and the score sounds like it was recorded on a boom box, it’s so blown out and distorted. That’s just one of the technically incompetent, amateurish aspects of Outlaws and Angels.
A gang of outlaws led by Henry (Chad Michael Murray) invade the home of bible thumping matriarch Ada (Teri Polo), her husband George (Ben BrowdeR) and daughters Florence (Francesca Eastwood) and Charlotte (Madisen Beaty). A lawman (Luke Wilson) is on the hunt but he won’t get there before the outlaws traumatized this family.
The 35mm film can’t hide that all the actors look like they’re in a Frontier Town theme park. Most are doing caricature western prospector accents. Wilson is saddled with lines like, “come out slow-like” and “That’s what you get for talking out your neck, you yellow scamp.” A cameo player as an abusive husband clearly does not make contact when he slaps his wife, twice.
The outlaws spend the night making cheap sexual threats on the daughters. Rape is portrayed several times for shock value, or one time in the case of a revenge re-rape for comedy. Ridiculous scenes like a protracted disrobing by Murray rob the villains of any menace. There are a few genuine shocks but the film has so failed to create a reality or the old west into which to buy. The kills are bloody, I’ll give them that.
Director JT Mollner and cinematographer Matthew Irving go overboard on zoom lenses in every scene. If Sergio Leone were still here to see this, he’d say, “Settle down, dudes.” They do Leone freeze frame opening titles too, but they only show the same thing over and over. It’s a guy in a mask from this angle, and that angle, and another angle!
Congratulations on getting this first feature into the Sundance Film Festival. I think it was a mistake to submit it though because it’s not ready. Now one of the largest audiences of decision makers in the industry has seen what looks like an unfinished student film.
A detective on the trail of a terrorist finds himself in a supernaturally charged trap where all the rules of police work go out the window in director Drew Hall’s Convergence.
The film arrives in select theaters on February 5, 2016 and on Digital Download, Blu-ray & DVD on February 9, 2016.
“Detective Ben Walls (Clayne Crawford, Rectify, A Walk to Remember) lives a quiet life with his wife and newborn daughter. But he’s called into action after an explosion at a local women’s health clinic – and explosion that may be the work of a terrorist bomber Ben has been tracking. While investigating the scene, another shocking event lands Ben himself in the hospital. When he awakens he is surprisingly uninjured and ready to go back into the field. But at the behest of his captain (Mykelti Williamson, Forrest Gump, Con Air) and the hospital’s few but eerily incongruous patients and staff, Ben is forced to remain inside the building.
As Ben navigates the hospital’s alarmingly empty hallways, he soon finds himself hunted by a self-proclaimed avenging angel (Ethan Embry, Eagle Eye, Vacancy), who may be the terrorist he has been looking for, and haunted by apparitions whose deadly motives remain a mystery. As Ben’s sense of reality begins to spiral out of control and the demons that surround him close in, he must find a way to both stop the supernatural forces that want him dead and catch the bomber before he strikes again.“
A modern-day myth about redemption that’s equal parts crime thriller, supernatural horror and action spectacle, Convergence is said to keep you guessing at every turn of its twisting plot right up until the last shocking frame.
Also starring in this gripping and unsettling film are Chelsea Bruland (Left Behind), Gary Grubbs (JFK), Laura Cayouette (Django Unchained) and Catalina Soto-Aguilar (Sons of Liberty).
Techland has shared the third, and final, video in their video breakdown of the free enhancement update that’s expected to arrive at the same time as the game’s largest expansion to-date, Dying Light: The Following. The latest video focuses on the intimidating Nightmare Mode, which cranks up the difficulty considerably by taking everything about the hard mode — longer nights, stronger enemies, weakened senses — and adds stamina-depleting active skills and every time you die, you’ll lose all experience accrued above your current level.
It makes up for this by making those awesome gold weapons more common and it significantly increasing the amount of XP you get, especially when you play the game with friends, where it adds another 10% XP bonus for each in-game partner.
Dying Light: The Following and the enhancement update hits the PC, PS4 and Xbox One on Feb 9.
Capcom heard the call of duty and now they’re headed to the battlefield with Umbrella Corps, the latest Resident Evil spin-off to lean more on action than horror.
In the multiplayer mode, up to six players compete in online team battles set in various locations lifted from earlier games in the series, such as the village from Resident Evil 4 and the shantytown from Resident Evil 5. There’s a verticality to each map that pairs nicely with the arena style combat. It’ll be interesting to see what Capcom does with the original locations, like the Tricell HQ.
“The close-quarters maps emphasize the “kill quick or die” mantra that’s at the core of the gameplay,” explained Capcom in an announcement post. “This isn’t a shooter that’s about leveling up your guns or experience points, it’s more about your own skill level and creating the best strategy to eliminate your opponents so your team can be victorious.”
A single-player mode called “The Experiment” was also unveiled today, and it sounds like an objective-based Mercenaries mode, with more than 20 missions in total.
Umbrella Corps releases on the PC and PS4 in May.
It’s rare for a short film to play in the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness program, which is why it’s was a huge deal that those who attended last September witnessed Davy Force and Nick DenBoer’s fucking bonkers Canadian short “The Chickening.”
The Shining gets a digital remix in this poultry-infused reworking of Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic, the TIFF program touted.
What you’ll see is footage from Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen king’s novella only repurposed in a way that is reminiscent of the madness behind “Too Many Cooks.” It’s the kind of hallucinatory nightmare you wish to have each and every night.
And now, after touring the festival scene, which also included Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, “The Chickening” is online for your clucking pleasure! Set your YouTube to repeat because you’re never going to want this to end…
31 is Rob Zombie’s The Running Man and it works. A group of touring performers (Sheri Moon Zombie, Meg Foster, Jeff Daniel Phillips and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs) is captured by game makers led by Malcolm McDowell who send their stable of killers after them. It’s fast-paced, violent and fun.
This is the same aesthetic Zombie has been employing in all his films. Everything is grimy and crusty, even the characters. The fact that the traveling show is a girlie show may be Zombie challenging us to root for sideshow hustlers and pornographers but probably not. It’s just the usual type of underbelly characters he likes to write about.
The violence is up to Zombie’s standards and you’ve got to respect that it all looks like real squibs and blood packs. These are actors rigged to spew blood like it’s supposed to be, not lazy CGI blood added later. There is also more than one occasion of naked women bloodied and brutalized. That’s a conversation that’s already been had regarding most of Zombie’s other films, so at this point I no longer engage with it. Whether it’s sexualized or confrontational, it’s just something I expect in a Rob Zombie movie.
Most of the movie is shot in shakeycam handheld cinematography, which I am fundamentally against. However Zombie gave me a strange appreciation of the technique in 31. There are two reasons it could be appropriate. One is that the events are so unpleasant we don’t want to see them clearly anyway, but I don’t buy that because Zombie wants us to see them. What I think is that Zombie’s is all about grime and handheld is the cinematic equivalent of grimy photography. It matched. I could follow the kills.
The game makers only ever appear in their master room so they probably shot them out in a day or two. “And Malcolm McDowell” indeed. There’s enough sense of history and unlimited resources there that you feel the players are f***ed. I can’t say the killers are as memorable as Buzzsaw and Captain Freedom but they’re not supposed to be fun. A Nazi little person is creepy as hell, and we get to meet the big bad (Richard Brake) in his downtime, being a vile misogynist in the most articulate way possible.
Some of the gags are a little obvious. Like when the game makers leave the players a meal, how did anyone not see the next thing coming? I mean, did it really taste like chicken?
It is a harrowing ordeal and you know that anyone who even survives will be traumatized for life. It’s not hard to get behind a desperate fight for your life. Set on Halloween 1976, a classic rock soundtrack propels a lot of the violence. It seems Zombie found the sweet spot between his punishing aesthetic and letting the audience have a rewarding catharsis by the end.
The beast rises on the official one-sheet for A&E’s upcoming supernatural drama/thriller “Damien,” courtesy of IGN.
“Bates Motel” returns March 7 at 9 p.m. ET, followed by the debut of “Damien” at 10 p.m. ET.
We’ve also shared the third teaser that hearkens back to an iconic line from the 1976 original, which stated, “Damien… It’s all for you.” This one ends, or begins for that matter, with a woman splattered on the pavement.
“The ten-episode “Damien” follows the adult life of Damien Thorn (James), the mysterious child from the 1976 film who has grown up, seemingly unaware of the satanic forces around him. Haunted by his past, Damien must now come to terms with his true destiny — that he is the Antichrist, the most feared man throughout the ages.”
Bradley James plays the titular character and Glen Mazzara (“The Walking Dead”) acts as showrunner.
While we’re still awaiting some official release news to go along with an image, Producer Christa Campbell shared the below tease from Leatherface, the prequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which filmed earlier last year in Bulgaria.
The image is of Stephen Dorff as Texas Ranger Hal Hartman, alongside co-star Finn Jones.
Dorff’s character is a lawman described to us as a lean, mean Texas Ranger who has a vendetta against the teen boy who grows up to become Leatherface.
The film centers around a violent teen who one day will become Leatherface. He escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates (Sam Coleman, Sam Strike, James Bloor, Jessica Madsen), kidnaps a young nurse (played by Vanessa Grasse) and takes her on a road trip from hell. Along the way, they are pursued by an equally deranged lawman (Stephen Dorff) out for revenge.
Angela Bettis was cast as Mother Sawyer. The Conjuring‘s Lili Taylor also is featured.
Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, the duo behind the slasher masterpiece Inside (À l’intérieur), as well as Livide and the forthcoming Among the Living, directed Leatherface for Millienum and Lionsgate.
Leatherface is being produced by Christa Campbell and Lati Grobman (interview), alongside Carl Mazzocone after they successfully resurrected the franchise with the 2013 Texas Chainsaw 3D. Les Weldon is also a producer on the project, which is being executive produced by Millennium’s Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, John Thompson, Mark Gill and Beth Bruckner O’Brien.
Now that the 10th season of FOX’s “The X-Files” is back and the conspiracies are roaring forth, we have to make sure that we don’t forget where the show came from, what it offered in its previous nine seasons (and two movies). After all, there’s a TON of information that has been given to us over the years and it’s worth poring over so that these new episodes have a strong foundation.
Now, some of you might consider yourself to be experts of “The X-Files”. Well, I’m here to put you to the test! Below is a 15 question quiz that presents you with pictures of various characters from the iconic sci-fi/thriller drama. Each round gives you a brief fact that you have to attribute to the right person. Guess right and earn points. Guess wrong, however, and your percentage goes down.
I’ll fully admit that I bombed this test. I definitely didn’t score even a D-, so I’m not passing any courses on “The X-Files”. However, if you think you can do better, by all means give it a shot! Just be sure to let us know in the comments how you did!
Steeles Publishing has just announced a pretty dope new book, “The Napkin Art of Tim Burton: Things You Think About in a Bar,” which will set you back only $19.99.
This mini-companion to the award winning “The Art of Tim Burton” provides a glimpse into the mind of a man who spends much of his life on the road. Often finding himself in random surroundings, Burton conveys thoughts, ideas and memories with simple sketches on the most convenient surface available – a napkin.
In his own words: “These are a collection of random thoughts, things, moments, feelings – done in bars, restaurants, hotels, and strange places all over the world. They were drawn quickly, as a stream of consciousness – wherever there was a napkin.”
Here’s a taste of this must-have gem!
Freaks of Nature will be abducted on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital February 9, 2016, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Robbie Pickering’s horror comedy takes place in the town of Dillford where humans, vampires and zombies were all living in peace… until the alien apocalypse arrived.
Now three teenagers – one human, one vampire, and one zombie – have to team up to figure out how to get rid of the visitors.
The massive cast includes Nicholas Braun, Mackenzie Davis, Josh Fadem, Joan Cusack, Bob Odenkirk, Keegan-Michael Key, Ed Westwick, Patton Oswalt, and even Vanessa Hudgens and Denis Leary!
In ‘Freaks of Nature,’ we welcome you to Dillford, where three days ago, everything was peaceful and business as usual: the vampires were at the top of the social order, the zombies were at the bottom, and the humans were getting along in the middle. But this delicate balance was ripped apart when the alien apocalypse arrived in Dillford and put an end to all the harmony. Now it’s humans vs. vampires vs. zombies in all-out, blood-sucking, brain-eating, vamp-staking mortal combat – and all of them are on the run from the aliens. It is up to three teenagers – one human, one vampire, and one zombie – to team up, figure out how to get rid of the interplanetary visitors, and try to restore order to this “normal” little town.
The premiere of Swiss Army Man reported a record number of Sundance walkouts. I still want to see the math on that because I don’t believe it could be more than I Melt With You in 2011. But buzz like that could spell doom for an indie movie, even one with the star clout of Daniel Radcliffe, so I’m here to report that the second screening played to the right crowd.
Swiss Army Man is a midnight movie. Not saying you can’t enjoy it at 3:30 in the afternoon, but it should at least be identified in a section that celebrates weird and bizarre stories. This is a movie where one of the main characters is dead the whole time. Not even in a Weekend at Bernie’s way. Bernie was a prop. The Swiss Army Man is a lead.
Radcliffe plays Manny, a dead body who washes up on shore just as Hank (Paul Dano) is about to kill himself. The natural gas emitted by the body propels Manny and Hank off the desert island to freedom, only to be stranded in a new jungle. As Hank struggles to survive, the unique properties of Manny’s decomposition gives Hank useful tools for survival.
Listen, I know my reputation. I like weird and different movies. I promise I am not just praising Swiss Army Man to be a contrarian. But, if you don’t want to see a movie about a dead body used as a jet ski or projectile weapon, I don’t understand why you came to Sundance. To see more movies about pretty actors not wearing makeup to show they’re brave? I like those too but I’m here to celebrate the truly unique.
Writer/directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert go Neveldine/Taylor crazy with this material. Hank makes things out of trash found scattered around. He must’ve landed on a landfill island or something but it works. He puts on shadow plays. There are so many levels of reality you never quite know which one you’re in, yet when it’s revealed it’s satisfying. It’s so crazy and fast you will need to see it again to catch it all. You certainly won’t know where it’s going next.
There were two ways to play Manny, and the Daniels didn’t go with the silent, rotting “Wilson the volleyball” version. They find a way to let Radcliffe talk and it makes sense for the world they established. Either it’s Hank’s fantasy that his dead friend regained the power of speech, or maybe Manny was only paralyzed. It’s gotta be the former because he’s still in rigor mortis and starting to decompose. I give Radcliffe credit for never blinking, even when he talks. Not that the takes are super long, but I couldn’t do it. In one longer take I did notice the left eye shudder. Maybe they can CGI that out.
The body keeps revealing new super powers. Hank eventually uses Manny as a weapon, as a cooking utensil, as an air and water source, as a motor. I won’t spoil how. The film follows its own rules. It’s not science per se, although maybe you could call it medically accurate in the way Human Centipede is, but the Daniels don’t cheat. Yet I also admire when they just play the immature sound effects for base laughs.
When Manny begins to speak, he’s like a newborn so Hank is explaining things to him like a child. He has to teach Manny what sex and masturbation are. It’s also slapsticky violent to Manny’s body in a morbidly humorous way. Yet it’s ultimately rather sensitive and nonjudgemental, considering the subject matter. The film has compassion for its characters. It’s not exploiting the shock value of this concept.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead has the Helen Hunt part. She’s mainly a picture on a cell phone, but we meet her eventually. Dano is fearless committing full throttle to this crazy movie that won’t win him an Oscar but deserves the same level of commitment.
This is what I love movies for. When I hear an outrageous, bizarre idea, I want to see how that director pulls it off. If you feel the Daniels didn’t, then that’s fair but the premise alone shouldn’t be a turnoff.