Some of the greatest horror movies are the classics, the originals that brought the most iconic denizens to the silver screen for the first time. We don’t often take the time to look back and appreciate that which inspired, influenced, and ultimately allowed some of our favorites to exist.
Perhaps it’s this nostalgia that fueled this week’s quiz. This is a chance to look back and see how well you know your classic horror films! Because if any of these have slipped past your radar, it’s time to venture into the past and relive the days of atmospheric horror, the likes of which had never before been seen at that time!
Go back-to-back with a new “American Horror Story: Freak Show” teaser! FX is set to debut the fourth season on October 8th at 10:00 PM on FX.
It begins its tale in the quiet, sleepy hamlet of Jupiter, Florida. The year is 1952.
“A troupe of curiosities has just arrived to town, coinciding with the strange emergence of a dark entity that savagely threatens the lives of townsfolk and freaks alike. This is the story of the performers and their desperate journey of survival amidst the dying world of the American carny experience.“
Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Frances Conroy, Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe, Denis O’Hare, Jamie Brewer, and Evan Peters return from previous seasons. New cast members includes Michael Chiklis, Wes Bentley, John Carroll Lynch, Finn Wittrock, Matt Bomer, Patti LaBelle and the world’s smallest living woman, Jyoti Amge.
The official poster for Fairfield has been released, along with new stills from the film.
It is “A coming of age story about a group of teens trapped in their school during the zombie apocalypse.
When a mysterious illness suddenly spreads through his home town, Gabriel Cooper finds himself fighting for his life. After seeking refuge in the local high school, he’s united with a group of teenagers who are hiding in the school. Together, they must face the gravest of teenage dilemmas: sex, parents, friends, and zombies.”
Fairfield stars Juliet Landau, Chris Bellant, and Chris Riggi and will have it’s premiere this Halloween.
The film is directed by Mattheau O’Brien, written by Isaac Shyamalan Loftus, and produced by Rude Mechanical Laboratory and Waldorf Entertainment.
Horsehead Pictures and Starfix Productions shared the first clip from Horsehead (french title FIÈVRE), the first feature-length film by director Romain Basset from a script he wrote with Karim Chériguène. It premiered at the Fantastic Fest film festival this past weekend.
Catriona MacColl, Murray Head, Lilly-Fleur Pointeaux, Vernon Dobtcheff, Fu’ad Ait Aattou, Gala Besson, Joe Sheridan, Emmanuel Bonami and Philippe Nahon star.
We’ve also re-added the trailer at the bottom.
“Since childhood, Jessica has been haunted by recurring nightmares in which she is chased by a mysterious horse-headed monster called Horsehead. In the hope to find peace at last, Jessica has started studying Psychophysiology of Dreams.
Following the death of her grand-mother, Jessica reluctantly returns to the family home for the funeral. Upon her arrival, she finds out that the dead body of her ancestor is lying in the room next to hers for the duration of the wake…
Jessica falls ill after a first rough night during which she had the strangest nightmare. Stuck in bed with a high fever, the young woman decides to make good use of her lethargic state. She experiments LUCID DREAMING and aims to take control of her nightmares, a dangerous exercise from which some never recover.
Jessica wanders in her own dream-world and investigates to solve the mystery that has been gnawing at her and her family for several generations. She will also have to confront the evil Horsehead one last time.“
New Line Cinema just sent us a batch of family photos showing off their demonic Annabelle doll!
Their quasi-The Conjuring prequel haunting theaters October 23.
“John Form thinks he’s found the perfect gift for his expectant wife, Mia—a beautiful, rare vintage doll in a pure white wedding dress. But Mia’s delight with Annabelle doesn’t last long.
On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic cult, who violently attack the couple. Spilled blood and terror are not all they leave behind. The cultists have conjured an entity so malevolent that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now…Annabelle.”
Annabelle reunites the filmmakers behind 2013’s hugely successful supernatural thriller The Conjuring. James Wan, director of the global hit, is producing Annabelle with Peter Safran. John R. Leonetti, who served as cinematographer on The Conjuring, is directing.
Annabelle Wallis (X-Men: First Class) and Ward Horton (The Wolf of Wall Street) star as the Forms. Oscar nominee Alfre Woodard (Cross Creek, Twelve Years a Slave) stars as Evelyn, a neighbor who owns a bookstore and is familiar with the occult. Rounding out the cast are Kerry O’Malley (TV’s “Those Who Kill) and Brian Howe (Devil’s Knot) as neighbors Sharon and Pete Higgins; Tony Amendola (TV’s “Once Upon A Time) as Father Perez; and Eric Ladin (TV’s “Boardwalk Empire,) as Detective Clarkin.
Thanks to Bloody reader Fabien M., we have new images from Don’t Grow Up, a new thriller from Goal of the Dead‘s Thierry Poiraud.
In the film, “On an isolated island, a group of teenage delinquents living in a youth center wake up to find themselves alone with no one to watch over them. After much partying, their supervisor appears out of nowhere, feverish and shaking. He suddenly attacks the students. They fight back and kill him accidentally, leaving them no other choice than to flee the crime scene. As they run away, they realize the island has been deserted. Or practically. The few adults they encounter on their journey all seem to be infected by a mysterious epidemic, making them violent and dangerous. It gradually becomes clear to them that children and adolescents aren’t affected by this disease.
In order to survive, they need to respect one golden rule: DON’T GROW UP. But one of them is turning 18 very soon…”
The film stars Fergus Riordan, Madeleine Kelly, McKell David, Darren Evans, Natifa Mai, Diego Mendez, Dominique Baute, and Daniela Jerez.
It comes from Noodles Production and Capture The Flag Films.
Dark Sky Films, an MPI company, has picked up U.S. rights to Brian O’Malley’s UK horror Let Us Prey, starring Liam Cunningham (“Game of Thrones,” Hunger), Pollyanna McIntosh (Filth, The Woman), Douglas Russell (A Lonely Place To Die), Bryan Larkin (Outpost 3), Hanna Stanbridge (Outcast), Brian Vernel, Niall Greig Fulton and Jonathan Watson.
In the Irish horror, “An enigmatic stranger is detained in the cells of a remote police station one fateful night. From his basement dungeon the charismatic loner begins to take over the minds of his fellow inmates and those of the police officers. He influences them to bend to his evil will and their latent inner demons explode in a crazed night of blood-spilling and mayhem. Only rookie cop Rachel is able to resist him … Will she survive?
Judge, Jury and Executioner are waiting in Let Us Prey.”
The film premiered at this past weekend’s Fantastic Fest.
Myrkur, the mysterious one-woman black metal project, has released an official music video for “Nattens Barn”, which comes from her brand new self-titled EP (out now via Relapse Records).
Directed by Will J. Løkken and Aske Løkken, Myrkur comments:
See the video below and make sure to read my review here.
Arriving on VOD October 2 with a theater run set for November 7 from Cinedigm is Open Windows, Nacho Vigalondo’s (Extraterrestrial, Timecrimes) innovative and high-tech suspense thriller that unfolds on the screen of a laptop connected to the Internet.
Starring Elijah Wood (Maniac) and Sasha Grey, “Nick (Wood) is excited to discover that he’s won a dinner date with his favorite actress, Jill Goddard (Grey). But when Jill refuses to honor the contest, her manager Chord (Maskell) makes an offer he can’t refuse: the ability to view Jill secretly via computer. Nick begins watching the unknowing star on her webcam, not realizing that this decision will put both himself and Jill at risk as they enter a terrifying world of cat-and-mouse where nothing—and no one—are as they seem.”
Check out this new clip that wants you to keep a secret…
I’m really sorry, folks. Yes, Closed Circuit Extreme is another “found footage” horror flick. I know that you guys are getting sick of them. As I’ve said before, it seems that indie filmmakers will take a concept that Hollywood has capitalized upon and run it into the ground. But who knows? Maybe this film will surprise and take the concept in new and exciting directions? Maybe the film will instantly grip you by the grundies and not let go for it’s entire runtime?
You know the answers to those questions, don’t you?
Student Francesca Pardi mysteriously disappeared in 2010 and her body was never found. Her friends Claudia (Francesca Cuttica) and Daniele (Guglielmo Favilla) suspect handyman David De Santis (Stefano Fregni) is connected to Francesca’s disappearance. Unfortunately, the public prosecutor does not take them seriously. So to gain proof, Claudia and Daniele break into De Santis’ home and install five closed circuit cameras to spy on him. The cameras are all connected to one hard drive in the living room camera, so periodically, Claudia and Daniele have to break in to check the amount of data collected and to constantly fixed faulty recording signals. But when Daniele breaks his ankle, Claudia has to return to De Santis’ home herself, unaware that De Santis has suspected the break-ins for a while.
Well, I suppose that the most interesting way that the found footage gimmick is used in the film is it’s presentation. Given that we’re watching footage from a variety of angles/sources/lighting etc. that’s in possession by the police department, we do get artificially zoomed-in shots that are intended to highlight key snippets of dialogue or whatever. There are also slick graphics to highlight certain individuals involved in the case, so that’s pretty neato…
Yes, my feigned enthusiasm is that obvious.
No surprise, this film sucks. How bad is it? Well, what do you want to have happen in the first hour of a 98 minute film? Maybe some character development, some establishing of the plot? How about an hour of watching Fregni’s character doing absolutely nothing of interest? Yep, we get to watch his entire mundane daily routine. Watch De Santis open a beer with his teeth! Watch De Santis parade around in his underwear, scratching his ass! Watch De Santis hire a “masseuse”! You can see what I’m getting at. The first hour is drawn out for way too long, as if director/writer Giorgio Amato had nothing better with which to fill out his story. Oh, we do get to see Claudia and Daniele break in and adjust the equipment, but rather than gather and review the filmed footage, they just leave it there. Because that makes sense. Only after an hour does the film start progressing, but by then it’s almost over. Amazing.
It doesn’t stop there. The brilliant choice of having Italian actors deliver their lines in English is frustrating, given that there’s no ADR (surprise!), and we’re forced to try and discern what is being said. Don’t worry, the swearing is in English, and it gets tired real fast when that’s all they seem to do. Because that’s how English-speaking people in films talk, apparently. Regardless of whether they talk in English or Italian, none of the actors are particularly enduring. In fact, you end up hoping that our protagonists are caught, just so you wouldn’t have to deal with Claudia being so annoying, and Daniele being such an idiot.
So yeah, the last half hour of the film has De Santis finally begin to show off some serial killer tendencies. Once he does lure an attractive woman and subdue her, we get a rape scene (as well as full frontal Fregni), some disturbing letter dictation, and some cheap offscreen gore. Not only do these scenes feel out of place and are more upsetting thanks to the previous hour of nothing, but you still don’t end up caring all that much. Apparently, neither did Amato, since the film ends as anti-climatic as you can get.
Closed Circuit Extreme is a turd. No question. Instead of innovating things, we get the tired found footage trope run into the ground, lazy storytelling, annoying actors and cheesy effects. This is a far cry from the glory days of Italian horror, and really, the film is a far cry from anything resembling entertainment. Literally, you could watch ants parade along a sidewalk, and you’d find that more stimulating than this. Give Dario a ring if you’re looking for good Italian horror. Avoid this film like the plague.
Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the quality is all over the place. Whether or not this was intentional to simulate the various sources of footage, it makes the film’s grittiness seem more forced and amateur than anything else. Details and colour quality vary with each source. The darker interior scenes suffer the worst, giving way to large amounts of noise, blur and lack of detail. Outdoor scenes fare better, but overall, the look of the film just adds to the aggravation of the overall experience.
Want to make the thick Italian accents more annoying? Scrap doing an ADR, and give us a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track with no subtitles. The audio is what you’d expect, given what the visuals are like: dialogue volume is dependent on the location of the hidden microphones, meaning it’s just as uneven as the video quality. What’s more annoying are the intentional static bursts that pop up when a cut to another feed is made. Really artificial, really cheap.
Other than the film’s trailer, there’s a collection of outtakes that have been included at the very end of the main feature. Yeah, I don’t know why they did it like this, either.
Day of the Dead returns to Los Angeles this weekend (September 26-28) for three days of monsters, movies, and madness at the LAX Marriot!
Over 75 celebrity guests are scheduled to appear all weekend long, including: CLIVE BARKER, DOYLE, COREY FELDMAN, TARA REID, BILL MOSELEY, SID HAIG, JOHN SCHNEIDER, RON JEREMY, KANE HODDER, and cast reunions for RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, NIGHTBREED, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS, THE THING, and much, much more!
Live music, 60+ hours of film and special event programming, monstrous after hours parties, costume and tattoo contests, and the best memorabilia vendors from across the country all weekend long.
Save money over the door price and avoid waiting in longer lines the day of the show by pre-ordering your tickets (through Thursday, Sept. 25th).
For tickets and full event info, visit the official website.
Thrash metal fans, get ready to draw some blood!
Richmond, CA metal legends Exodus are gearing up for the release of their tenth studio album Blood In, Blood Out, which comes out October 14th via Nuclear Blast! In anticipation of this upcoming release, which comes nearly 30 years after the band’s historic album Bonded By Blood, we’ve scored an exclusive interview with frontman Steve “Zetro” Souza to discuss the album, the band’s upcoming tour with Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies, as well as Zetro’s love of horror!
Bloody-Disgusting: What’s going on, sir?
A lot of things! Busy, busy, busy!
Bloody-Disgusting: In that case, I’ll dive right into things! What’s the most ass-kicking track on Blood In, Blood Out?
Every track [laughs]! It’s the first record that I don’t fast-forward through the songs. You know when you do a record, you hear it a million times. So, I know how it goes! There are often times when you hear a track and think “Ehhhhh, I kinda like THIS one better!” Not here. I love every track.
But, I do think that “Numb” and “[Wrapped In The Arms Of] Rage” are great. And they change by week! Next week, something will happen and it’ll be “BTK” or “Black 13″.
But so far I love every thing on this album. I’m really excited for this one! It’s a good blend of what Exodus has done over the last 30 years. Some journalists have heard it and said that it’s a little bit “retro”, which I guess you could say that a little bit. It’s also got the intensity the last 10 years has had. I think it’s a really good balance of what Exodus does best! Sheer violence! Sheer energy! Sheer brutalism!
BD: What keeps Exodus going?
I think we’re all still big fans. We’re all still aware that we have a lot to offer musically, which is apparent with ‘Blood In, Blood Out’. I think we have such loyal fans. Next year is 30 years after ‘Bonded By Blood’, which is a long time for a band to be out touring and playing. The fans are still there raging there for us! There are still those Exodus patches on their jackets, y’know?
For myself, I have Hatriot, I have a bunch of other metal projects. I love heavy metal. I love thrash metal. I love to get on stage and watch fuckers start pits and go nuts. That’s the best part, for me. As long as they’re still down for doing it, I’ll be out there doing it.
BD: Exodus has always had a connection to horror. What is it about metal and horror that make them seem to go so well together?
I am tattooed completely with horror. I love all the monster movies! I mean, my bed pillows! One’s Bela Lugosi and one’s Boris Karloff! I love that type of stuff. It’s dark, it’s deep, it’s scary, it’s shocking, and I think thrash metal is the same way. It’s definitely abrasive, definitely violent. It can definitely be scary, for sure. It’s got a lot of elements that I think crosses over with horror.
We did Comic Con a couple of weeks ago and they were interviewing Kirk [Hammett] because we played at his Fear Fest[Evil] after party and he said that a lot of the same things that I think. When you think of those images, like Dracula or the first time you saw Linda Blair in ‘The Exorcist’, it’s the look, the sheer terror of the look, how scary that would be if you walked into a house and that was the first thing you saw.
I think that really strikes a chord with me big time.
BD: That really resonates with me because there are times when you listen to an album and a song will open up that is immediately fierce and terrifying and it makes me jump because it’s so unexpected! Or something will happen in a song, a twist that I never saw coming, and it’s so exciting!
And I think that metal definitely offers that! Think of bands like Slayer and how many times they have something that makes you think, “Oh my god, that is just hauntingly scary!” It’s great! I love it! That’s the element that makes rock and roll what it’s all about: angst and rebellion.
BD: You’re set to tour with Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies in November and December. Unfortunately, Tendencies bassist Tim Williams passed away. What kind of an impact does something tragic like that have, both personally and professionally?
Well, I think as being in my position I’ve had a lot of friends die over the years. I knew Cliff Burton really, really, really well, so when he died, it was like, “Well, I didn’t expect that!” It was the same with [Paul] Baloff dying.
There have been so many people, so many friends, that have been through our lives, through the scene, and it’s just so tragic. But all you can do, honestly, is just keep going, keep the music going forward. That’s what they would’ve wanted you to do and I think it’s definitely a healer for everybody. You can’t sit back. You can only mourn for so long.
I think it’s great that GWAR is going to go out and live on the legend of Dave [Brockie]! That’s great and I think it should be that way!
I can’t imagine how strange it is for Suicidal Tendencies. They’ll have to bring someone on board to take over. When I left Exodus, I didn’t die. It’s gotta be tough to handle.
BD: A tour is usually a place with a lot of energy, a lot of liveliness. It’s often a place where people can celebrate the life of someone rather than mourn.
That’s it too. I think that whole tour, from all bands, will be dedicated to Tim. It’s just too bad.
BD: If you could get any horror movie director to direct an Exodus video, who would you get?
It could be anybody? Old school? I wouldn’t go anyone new. No M. Night Shyamalan, that’s for sure. I’d probably have to with William Friedkin! Just because he directed the scariest movie in the world in my eyes, so if he could do it, that’d be great! It’s not just ‘The Exorcist’, it’s everything he does!
Oh, and Clive Barker would be great too! I’d let Clive Barker direct me, that’d be fun!
BD: He directed one of my favorite horror films: ‘Lord Of Illusions’.
‘Lord Of Illusions’ is amazing! Great movie!
BD: Zetro, thank you so much!
Thank you, man! We’ll see you on the road and I can’t wait for you to pick up ‘Blood In, Blood Out’! It’s gonna be great!
Susan Heyward, Noah Taylor, Olesya Rulin, Logan Browning and Eddie Izzard, along with executive producer and co-creator of the graphic novels, Brian Michael Bendis will debut the first footage of the highly anticipated series, “Powers,” during their New York Comic Con panel on Saturday, October 11 at 3:15pm on the Empire Stage 1E. The panelists will also be autographing a limited edition New York Comic Con exclusive poster for fans at Autograph Table 14 at 1:15pm.
Check out these first images from “Powers,” an edgy dramatic series from Sony Pictures Television and inspired by the graphic novel series of the same name.
“‘Poweres’ follows the lives of two homicide detectives, Christian Walker (Sharlto Copley) and Deena Pilgrim (Susan Heyward), who are assigned to investigate cases involving people with extraordinary abilities, referred to as “Powers.” Set amidst today’s paparazzi culture, Powers asks the questions, what if the world was full of superheroes who aren’t actually heroic at all? What if all that power was just one more excuse for mischief, mayhem, murder, and endorsement deals? Enter the men and women of the Powers Division, the only people brave enough to go up against the overpaid, commercialized, superhumans who glide through the sky imposing their power over the crowds below who both worship and fear them.“
“From the minute he stepped onto the set Sharlto has invested every part of himself into this role. He adds layers and layers into Christian Walker. He is doing everything I hoped he would do, which is make the television version of this character unique and exciting,” said Bendis. “And Susan, my god! From her very first audition she has embodied the character of Deena Pilgrim. I think people are going to be completely sucked in by both of their performances and unique perspectives on this world that Charlie Huston has built.”
“No matter how many guns or super powers you throw into a TV show, no one is going to watch if they don’t give a damn about your main characters. Sharlto and Susan are my secret weapons, my super powers; dynamic talents that viewers will definitely give a damn about,” adds showrunner and writer, Charlie Huston.
During the “POWERS: Bringing the Graphic Novels to Life Exclusively on PlayStation” panel, fans will jump into the world of POWERS as the team shares their journey turning the beloved graphic novels into a live-action drama series for PlayStation. The award-winning graphic novels, written by Bendis and illustrated by Michael Avon Oeming, have received critical-acclaim earning the Eisner Award for Best New Series in 2001. Bendis also won the Best Writer Eisner Award in 2002 and 2003. Powers the series is produced by Jinxworld and Circle of Confusion in association with Sony Pictures Television. Brian Michael Bendis, Charlie Huston, Remi Aubuchon, Michael Avon Oeming, and David Engel serve as executive producers.
Filmax (the [REC] franchise, Summer Camp) provided Bloody Disgusting with the first images from their now-filming Sweet Home, with Rafa Martinez at the helm. Thanks to Fabien M. for the tip!
Sweet Home is described as a realistic and claustrophobic film that keeps track of the scariest side.
Here’s a translation of the film’s plot: “The plot is situated in a daily environment: a couple decides to spend a romantic evening in a floor of a semi-abandoned building that slip because she works as a consultant for the council house and got the keys. During the evening they discover that a hooded murderer is the only tenant left in the building…and they have become the new target.“
Ingrid Garcia Jonsson (Beautiful Youth) stars with Bruno Sevilla (Mindscape).
Martinez co-wrote the screenplay with Teresa of Rosendo and Ángel Agudo.
The English language Sweet Home is produced by Julio Fernandez.
Fabien M. sent over the first trailer (with English subs!) and image for Light House Productions’ French horror Hostile, directed by 15-year-old Nathan Ambrosioni.
In the film, “Meredith Langston always longed to have children. She finally makes this happen when she adopts two young adolescent girls. However, her now idyllic world sours rapidly and dream veers to nightmare when she quickly finds that she is unable to cope with their increasingly strange behaviour. Desperate, she seeks the help of two television journalists working for a local station, SOS Adoption.”
Julie Venturelli, Luna-Miti Belan, Lucie Donier, Shelley Ward, Anatolia Allieis, Julien Croquet, Magaly Gouyon, Didier Beaumont, Sarah Robert, Danielle di Sandro, Mallow Garcia, Richard Carré, Elona Hec and Vanessa Azzopardi star.
Director Colin Trevorrow just opened pandora’s box with his tweet from the set of Jurassic World.
While the plot has been under wraps, we know that it’s about a fully functional theme park now called “Jurassic World.”
The below tweet shows something more important: the East Dock sign that Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) knocked over with his Jeep in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Jurassic Park.
The implication here is that Jurassic World, in theaters June 12, 2015, lives in the exact same world as JP, and will also reference the original film. Clearly, I think the best guess here is that Jurassic World was made possible by the shaving cream canister (carrying dino DNA) Nedry was attempting to smuggle out of the park.
Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, and Judy Greer all star in the new JP sequel.
— Colin Trevorrow (@colintrevorrow) September 22, 2014
“The Newsroom” and Jonah Hex‘s John Gallagher Jr., pictured above, has joined Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Faults, The Thing) and John Goodman (Red State) in Paramount Insurge and Bad Robot’s The Cellar, reports Variety.
Dan Trachtenberg will direct, with J.J. Abrams producing for Bad Robot.
“The majority of the movie takes place in an underground cellar and revolves around a young woman who wakes up after a severe car accident and fears she has been abducted. Her captor, a doomsday prepper, tells her he saved her life and that there has been a terrible chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable. As tensions rise, she decides she must escape regardless of the terrors that await outside.”
Dan Casey wrote the most recent version of the script. Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken penned the original draft.
I’m a lifelong fan of animated cinema, and while I sometimes lament how Pixar-style CG epics have trampled many of the medium’s more traditional methods, I still appreciate the artistry, skill and incredible patience that goes into it. That’s probably why I have an intense love of stop-motion (well, that and all those Ray Harryhausen epics that helped shape my imagination), which is arguably the most time-consuming and meticulous animation technique of them all. Long before fully-rendered digital imagery became the standard, stop-motion features have still been fairly rare over the past few decades; despite the cult popularity of Tim Burton’s gothic masterpiece A Nightmare Before Christmas, the labor- and time-consuming technique of animating puppets or clay figures probably tries the patience of most studio execs. But for me, that makes the arrival of dark fantasy gems like Corpse Bride, Coraline and Frankenweenie all the more special.
LAIKA, the studio behind Coraline and 2012′s Paranorman, are rolling out their latest feature The Boxtrolls, and I’m celebrating all over again. It’s not only their finest achievement to date, but I daresay it’s the most entertaining animated film to be released by a major studio in the past few years. Based on the book Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow, Boxtrolls is the deceptively simple tale of a young boy raised from infancy by the title critters – a kindly but secretive community of blue-skinned, glowing-eyed imps clad in cardboard boxes, who maintain their vast subterranean society by salvaging and re-purposing junk left behind by the oddball citizens of Cheesebridge (a town so named because their entire economy is based on importing exotic cheeses).
The tale itself draws from a deep well of classic tales (Kipling’s The Jungle Book and Dickens’ Oliver Twist come to mind), but the real joy here is in the telling. The world LAIKA has crafted is barely grounded in reality, opting for a highly stylized version of a late-19th-century European town that’s still making the transition from steam power to electricity (providing for some memorable steampunk set-pieces, including a towering coal-fueled robot), but it’s a touch more down-to-earth than Neil Gaiman’s surreal dreamworld depicted in Coraline. The elaborate sets – a combination of intricate models and digital artwork – seem to stretch on endlessly, and every nook and cranny is stuffed with weird little details: for example, the trolls’ underground city is a Rube Goldberg explosion of improvised machinery and flickering electric lights; Cheesebridge’s winding cobblestone streets (with pun-filled names like “Curds Way”) seem to defy gravity, twisting back on each other and folding into rooftops like an M.C. Escher landscape. The depth of detail is enhanced by quality 3D photography (not post-converted), which creates some dizzying moments, including an insane chase across city rooftops.
Of course, the lion’s share of the credit goes to the character animation team: the incredibly detailed puppets are sculpted with exaggerated facial and body features, decked out in highly detailed period costumes and rendered in high-contrast shades, reminiscent of hyper-stylized silent classics like Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The young hero “Eggs” falls closer to the softer, more traditional style usually reserved for child characters – which is probably a smart choice, as kids should identify with the likable leads. While played mostly for broad laughs, the characters’ faces cover the full spectrum of emotions, and the little nuances of their expressions are amazing to watch.
Accompanying this visual smorgasbord is one of the best voice casts I’ve heard in years: Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley rules them all in a mad, campy performance as the scenery-chewing villain Archibald Snatcher, who bamboozles the town’s moronic, cheese-obsessed elders into hiring him to eliminate the Boxtrolls; his musical number in absolutely hideous drag as a shrieking diva is totally hilarious (and a bit terrifying, if you ask me). Isaac Hempstead Wright (Game of Thrones) plays Eggs (named by the trolls after the egg crate he was found in), while other standout roles include Shaun of the Dead‘s Simon Pegg & Nick Frost and 30 Rock‘s Tracy Morgan as Snatcher’s addled sidekicks; Elle Fanning (Maleficent) nabs some of the film’s biggest laughs as the cute but morbidly curious Winnie, daughter of the dairy-obsessed Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris). Intricate sound design and a darkly whimsical score, plus song lyrics by Monty Python’s Eric Idle, add the final touches to this eccentric, comically macabre little universe.
With Halloween just around the corner, I can’t recommend this film highly enough. It’s got nostalgic references and knowing in-jokes to warm the hearts of classic horror fans; it’s packed with enough wild action, playful music and comic pratfalls to delight young ones (though maybe not too young – there are some shocking moments, including Snatcher’s monstrous allergic reaction to cheese); and it’s laced with tons of irreverent, macabre and droll humor for the grownups – including a surprising share of bodily-function and gross-out jokes and a wonderfully subtle meta-moment during the credits that actually got a round of applause. The Boxtrolls is not only the year’s best animated feature, but it’s sure to be a perennial favorite among fans of vintage horror and dark fantasy. It may give you a case of whiplash (and possibly put you off your cheese), but you’ll enjoy every minute of it.
Bloody-Disgusting has teamed up with Belgian metal band Bear to bring you the exclusive music video premiere for “Mantiis”! The video mixes performance footage with a storyline about a man and woman who begin making love but quickly turn into something far more sinister.
Vocalist Maarten Albrechts:
Mantiis is all about major companies and the gruesome way they treat their people. These companies suck their employees dry and throw them away after they become useless. That’s what the female mantis does: attract a male, mates with him and then kills him. The double ‘i’ highlights that greedy behaviour. The entire video is built around the same concept: greed. A beautiful girl attracts a man, takes everything he has, abuses him and leaves him behind feeling empty and alone.
“Mantiis” comes from the band’s upcoming album Noumenon, which can be pre-ordered through Basick Records.
Euroblast, Friday 3 Oct
Swedish melodic death metal pioneers At The Gates have released a stream of the title track of their upcoming album At War With Reality, which comes out October 28th via Century Media Records.
Bassist Jonas Bjorler comments:
We have finally reached the moment for the unveiling of a first full brand new At the Gates song! We have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this record for the past year, and we are very happy to now present you the title track of ‘At War With Reality’. Let the journey begin…
Having been a huge fan of Slaughter Of The Soul, one of the most influential metal albums of the 90′s, I can safely say that hearing this proves to me that the band still has it. It’s vicious, it’s aggressive, and it doesn’t hold back at all. This is what I wanted and I’m beyond thrilled to hear it.