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Scary vs. Gorey

Posted by Horror Grinder on January 8, 2013

I love scary movies and I love blood and guts and severed heads and tangled up intestines everywhere. I guess tangled-up intestines are kind of the same thing as guts, but, wow, do I love grisly gore. It seems like older horror movies often focused more on the psychology of how horrifying a situation or act was and newer horror movies put more attention into convincingly showing every stab and every spurting artery on camera. For example, especially when you factor in what audiences of the time were used to, Last House on the Left was really shocking in 1972. It’s slogan was “To avoid fainting, keep repeating it’s only a movie, only a movie, only a movie.” Most of the most horrible events in the movie, you hear the suffering, but you can’t really see what is going on. By contrast, the 2009 version seems to be shot somehow higher quality, partly just due to the technology of modern cinematography. To my modern eyes, the color palette is more pleasing in the 2009 Last House on the Left. More of the gruesome parts are visible, although they could still go more extreme with that, for my taste. But the new one somehow loses some of the aura of menace, while at the same time vastly improving special effects and general overall look. Partly I suppose Aaron Paul just didn’t seem very scary to begin with and he already seemed like a tragic hero to anyone who had seen him play Jesse in Breaking Bad. You can research more about both the 1972 film version and the more recent 2009 remake at Wikipedia and you can read a bit about Last House on the Left distribution channels for horror at Blue Blood.

Horror special effects definitely have come a long way since the seventies. Now though, the special effects are, not to sound ironic, to die for. Trust me, if the quality of movies were still the same as they were a few decades ago, you can bet that I wouldn’t drop what I was doing over at http://www.partybingo.com just to watch some crappy special effects, and acting that we will just label as sub-par. Thank god though, that isn’t the case! To prove my point, just go watch one of the many (I think there are eight) movies in the Saw series, or if you are really up for some cringing, then watch Hostel.

So, in conclusion, I’ll watch the seventies movies for the acting and the newer ones for the special effects, but the special effects really have to be pretty impressive. I’m thinking about going to see Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D. I figure, even if the acting is all Disney Channel, the special effects on that have to be worth a theater ticket.

Interview: Toa Fraser Talks Walking The Dead Lands

Posted by Gareth Jones on May 29, 2015

Today, May 29, director Toa Fraser’s unique and brutal journey into the world of warring Māori tribes, The Dead Lands, makes its way to UK cinemas with a DVD release to follow on June 1. We took the opportunity to sit down with Fraser and chat about the film, the decision to shoot it entirely in the Māori language, balancing the fantastical with the historic, and more.

So pack your bags, patus and taiahas… ’cause we’re off to The Dead Lands

Toa Fraser

Dread Central: Was it a difficult ‘sell’ to get The Dead Lands funded and off the ground initially, given its uniqueness and the intention to have it completely in the Māori language?

Toa Fraser: Matthew Metcalfe, my producer, offered the script to me and it was written in English, but Glenn Standring, who wrote it, always intended for it to be spoken in Māori. We had quite a short conversation about whether we should go ahead with doing it in Māori – obviously, the idea of doing it in English was a real option, but we both agreed that it was a much more exciting idea to do it in Māori, and it turned out that the people we asked to come on board to make the movie agreed with us. I’m grateful to them because it really imbues the whole movie… the whole ethos and production process with a really unique responsibility and sensibility and a cool vibe.

DC: The Māori language itself is obviously still alive and well, but did the main cast already speak it fluently or did they have to be trained?

TF: Lawrence Makoare, who plays the warrior with no name, and James Rolleston, who plays Hongi, the boy… neither [of them] are fluent speakers. The only real fluent speakers in the main cast were Te Kohe Tuhaka, who plays Wirepa, the main baddie, and Raukura Turei, who plays a warrior woman that the heroes come across during the story.

So it was a learning process for a lot of the cast, and indeed a learning process for me because I don’t speak Māori [either]. So we were all coming at it with different levels of expertise, and the cast led a lot of the sharing of knowledge and expertise. It was really a great ethos that we worked with, and [everyone] supported each other.

DC: So you weren’t put entirely in the hands of language consultants…

TF: We worked with Tainui Stephens, who was our co-producer, and Scotty Morrison, who translated the script. Tainui was on set every day and a very close part of the performance team. We did work with language consultants, too, but there was much expertise within the cast as well. Another thing to say is that generation of [the cast’s] characters – the skills that they had to take on – wasn’t just to do with language; it was also to do with the physicality and the weaponry. And so there was a whole sort of holistic learning curve that everybody worked together on.

DC: Has the language itself actually remained the same in its modern version as it was at the time which The Dead Lands represents?

TF: Actually, that’s a great question. Scotty Morrison, who translated the English, is one of only twelve [people who can speak the older forms]. He’s a very esteemed speaker of the language; [yet, he’s a] young dude. He kind of went back to a more formal and classical way of speaking that surprised even a lot of the native speakers in the cast. For instance, Wairangi Koopu, who’s a former rugby league player and plays one of the baddies, he’s a very fluent speaker himself… but I remember him coming in to his audition and going “Whoa, I knew Scotty translated this ’cause it’s very hard!” (laughs)

So I suppose the equivalent would be Elizabethan English? And that kind of fits with the high-falutin’ Shakespearian performance, especially for [the character of] Wirepa… they’re all sort of ‘lord’ this and ‘betrothed’ that, and that kind of stuff.

DC: Going back to what you said about the actors taking on the elements of physicality required for the film – was it a big change for you as a director to shoot so many action sequences? Did that pose much of a challenge to you?

TF: Well, I grew up watching action movies, so I don’t know why I started my career working in theatre and drama stuff. I always wanted to make James Bond and Indiana Jones movies. We didn’t know how good we had it in the ’80s and ’90s with movies like ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Lethal Weapon’… all of those great, bloodthirsty, awesome John McTiernan type movies… but obviously at the start of my career I kind of paid my dues and did some more drama and comedy, dialogue-driven things.

I really wanted to change direction after doing ‘My Talks with Dean Spanley’… partly because we shot a small part of the story in New Zealand in the summer time – in fact, Xavier Horan, who plays Rangi in the film, Wirepa’s right-hand man, he played a small cameo as Peter O’Toole’s son in ‘Dean Spanley’ – and it was really at that moment, when we were shooting that, that I thought, “Man, I really would like to make an action movie with somebody like Xavier.”

Out in the sunshine… in the grit and the grubby, grimy, sandy, dusty, salty… out in the elements. Something lean and mean and muscular. It took a long time to figure out what that would be, but Matthew Metcalfe, my producer, and I worked together on a ballet film, ‘Giselle’, immediately before ‘The Dead Lands’. It was based on the Royal New Zealand production of that show, starring Gillian Murphy, who’s one of the world’s best dancers. I learned a lot about shooting choreography through that process, so [it felt like a] natural progression [to go] from ballet to the kind of raw performances and choreography that we were striving to get for this.

DC: There’s a focus here also on the psychological side of warfare, which historically the Maori were exceptionally good at. How did you approach that? Was it all in the script, or did you allow the actors to mostly bring it themselves?

TF: Lots of it was in the script, but even though it was in the script, there was still a way to make this movie that was more a straight out Jean-Claude Van Damme type thing, that ignored that [psychological element]… but I loved it and have spent a lot of time thinking about stuff like that over the last few years.

Really, the moment it coalesced for me was when Lawrence Makoare came in for his audition. Liz Mullane, who was our casting director, suggested Lawrence very strongly – and I was quite reluctant because I’d only seen him in ‘Lord of the Rings’, buried beneath prosthetics, and the worst James Bond film ever… the one with Halle Berry that Lee Tamahori directed… he was a James Bond baddie/henchman called Mr. Kil, I think, [in that one].

So I was suspicious… well, not suspicious, but I didn’t quite recognise his potential. But he came in and he did a scene and it was really good and quite moving. I gave him a very small, very simple bit of direction and he did another performance of the same scene and it was amazing. I cried. Liz cried. He cried. Stephen Butterworth, our reader, cried… we all sat down in circle on the ground and didn’t say anything for fifteen minutes or so. That moment really showed me the kind of gravity that the characters could bring.

DC: There’s an intriguing level of magic and mysticism and supernatural elements such as speaking with the dead and visiting ancestors. The audience always has an outside view of that, so while it may appear real to the characters, there’s always room for a grounded explanation, for example hallucinogenic mushrooms or shamanistic herbs. Was the film ever more fantastical or overt in its approach to this in the early stages of the script?

TF: I would say “no”. The balance was about the same as it is now. But I was always excited about the mystical… the combination of a real kind of earthy, muscular world where people get cut up and wounded, and a more kind of mystical, immortal world. For me, the big change that I brought to the table in that regard was that it was really important for me that there were stakes involved. I didn’t want anybody in the film that is involved in fighting to be invincible, or to have an immortal type of [feel to them]. The conversation that the Warrior has about whether he’s a spirit or a real man is kind of key to me. It was one of the exciting parts of the process.

DC: While the action elements of the story were obviously a big draw for you in terms of The Dead Lands, given your previous body of work, do you think that you’re a filmmaker more interested in aspects of culture than anything else? In this film particularly, the action and violence feel organic within the culture… your previous films have dealt with family culture and tradition also. Is this something that you actively focus on?

TF: That question’s quite tricky to answer… I consider myself an actor’s director. So when I’m working with actors… we’re always looking for ways to find the humanity. Often that comes through specificity, relating to place and time and culture. One of the things that was really liberating to me working on ‘The Dead Lands’ was to work in a more mythical place, in a time not really defined.

DC: Yeah… something that feels “different”…

TF: Yeah. Interestingly, I felt that you can illuminate different parts of humanity in a more fantastical setting than you can in a more realistic setting. Even though, with my more sort of drama/dialogue films, I remember really holding the idea of… I can’t remember what the exact words were… but I had a key phrase of something about “transcending authenticity”. Authenticity and a strong relationship to place is very important, but at the same time I feel like movies should take reality to somewhere else – and they do anyway because as soon as you put a frame around something, you’re changing it.

Many thanks for Toa for taking the time out to speak with us. As mentioned, keep an eye out for The Dead Lands in select cinemas from May 29 and DVD from June 1 courtesy of Icon Film Distribution.

Synopsis:
Hongi (James Rolleston) – a Māori chieftain’s teenage son – must avenge his father’s murder in order to bring peace and honour to the souls of his loved ones after his tribe is slaughtered through an act of treachery. Vastly outnumbered by a band of villains, led by Wirepa (Te Kohe Tuhaka), Hongi’s only hope is to pass through the feared and forbidden Dead Lands and forge an uneasy alliance with the mysterious “Warrior” (Lawrence Makoare), a ruthless fighter who has ruled the area for years.

Dead Lands UK DVD Sleeve

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Exclusive UK Clip Crawls Out of the Dark

Posted by Gareth Jones on May 29, 2015

Ghostly children are looking for revenge in director Lluís Quílez’s Out of the Dark (review), which steps into the light of UK DVD on June 22. To prepare, we have a UK-exclusive clip for you that sees one individual placed in a rather unnerving predicament…

Out of the Dark stars Julia Stiles, Scott Speedman, and Stephen Rea and is brought to UK DVD by Entertainment One.

Synopsis:
Sara (Stiles) travels with her husband, Paul (Speedman), and young daughter to a small Colombian town, where she takes over the family business from her father (Rea).

But the town has a mysterious past – somehow connected to the old medical centre where Sara and her family now live – and it’s only a matter of time before the spirits of dead children begin to torment their lives. Can Sara uncover the dark secret haunting her family? Or is her own daughter doomed to become one of the ghostly children?

Out of the Dark UK DVD Sleeve

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Hannibal Cast Members Tease What to Expect in Season 3

Posted by Debi Moore on May 28, 2015

We’ve seen lots of photos of them lately, and now finally we get to hear from the cast members of “Hannibal.” Mad Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Laurence Fishburne, Caroline Dhavernas, Gillian Anderson, Scott Thompson, and Aaron Abrams all recorded some soundbites teasing what to expect in the upcoming Season 3 including learning a bit more about both Hannibal’s and Bedelia’s pasts, Jack’s suffering, the slow build, and lots more.

So settle in, and join us as we anxiously await the S3 premiere episode, “Antipasto,” airing just one week from today!

“Hannibal” Episode 3.01 – “Antipasto” (6/4/15; 10-11 PM)
HANNIBAL IS ON THE RUN – EDDIE IZZARD AND ZACHARY QUINTO GUEST STAR – Having successfully escaped FBI capture, Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving through the European landscape, with Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) in tow. But Dr. Lecter’s old habits and opulent tastes are still on display as he settles into a new identity and life in Florence, Italy, working at the Palazzo Capponi museum. Glimpses into the past help inform his relationship with Bedelia, a pairing not clearly defined as friend or foe. Tom Wisdom and Jeremy Crutchley also guest star.

For more info be sure to visit “Hannibal” on NBC.com, “like” “Hannibal” on Facebook, and follow “Hannibal” on Twitter.

hannibal-premierebanner

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Joel D. Wynkoop’s The Bite Finally Hits DVD

Posted by Todd Rigney on May 28, 2015

I obsess over Joel D. Wynkoop movies the way that some people follow Kane Hodder or Robert Englund. For me, he’s among the best actors working in no-budget horror. So whenever there are new developments in the world of Wynkoop, yours truly has a tendency to get excited, even when the movie itself is over a decade old. My Wynkoop love knows no boundaries.

Joel’s 2005 SOV genre outing The Bite has eluded DVD for several long years. Thankfully, Cult Movie Mania is offering the flick on the aforementioned home video format this July.

There’s a very strong possibility that you’ve never read this synopsis before.

Welcome to Hell on Earth! Freaks, fighting, and bloodshed fill the post-apocalyptic streets as a mysterious disease called THE BITE turns innocent people into bloodthirsty vampires. Walking amongst them is Nick Hazzard (Joel D. Wynkoop), a survivalist out to kill the savage creatures, save the world, and avenge his wife’s death.

Joel D. Wynkoop’s The Bite will begin shipping on July 1. If you want to pre-order your very own copy right now, swing by Cult Movie Mania. For SOV fans, this is a no-brainer.

The Bite (2005)

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William Froste Assembles a Who’s Who of Horror Veterans

Posted by Todd Rigney on May 28, 2015

While everyone is waiting for Bruce Campbell to deliver a horror version of The Expendables, filmmaker Natalie Bible is extremely busy beating him to the punch. Bible has assembled a veritable who’s who of horror for William Froste, a flick that is slated to begin shooting this September. Warning: Your head may burst when see how many people Bible has assembled for this outing.

What’s the film about, you ask? The press release describes the flick as “the ultimate dichotomy of innocence vs. evil [that] will leave an audience questioning their own moral convictions and seeking answer.” While that’s all well and good, most people will probably obsess more about the cast than they will the plot, which is probably what Bible and company want.

Take a look the official cast list below. It’s kind of impressive.

Lew Temple (Lawless, Halloween, The Devil’s Rejects)
Tyler Mane (Halloween, Troy, X-Men)
Bill Moseley (Night of the Living Dead, Texas Chainsaw 2, Halloween, The Blob)
Muse Watson (Austin Powers, I Know What You Did Last Summer, “NCIS”)
Leslie Easterbrook (Halloween, The Devil’s Rejects)
Michael Berryman (Hills Have Eyes, “Penny Dreadful,” Beast Master)
Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th Part VII, Hatchet)
Miko Hughes (Apollo 13, New Nightmare)
Amanda Wyss (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Steve Railsback (Helter Skelter, Lifeforce)
Daeg Faerch (Halloween, Hancock, “Pushing Daisies”)
Jillian Murray (Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, The Graves, Murder in the First)
Alex Vincent (Child’s Play Franchise)
Mateus Ward (Hostages, “Weeds”)
Preston Bailey (“Dexter,” The Crazies)
Rodney Eastman (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 & 4, I Spit on Your Grave)
Lisa Wilcox (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 & 5)
Maria Olsen (Paranormal Activity 3, Starry Eyes, Lords of Salem)
Landon Gimenez (ABC’s “Resurrection”)
Emily O’Brien (Pernicious, “The Young & the Restless”)
Kellen Michael (Showtimes “Shameless,” “South Park,” “Agent Carter”)
Tiffany Shepis (Sharknado franchise)

Although we don’t have much in the way of a release date on William Froste at the moment, with a cast like this, chances are we’ll hear more about the flick as the production gets under way.

William Froste

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FX Legend Rick Baker Announces His Plans To Retire

Posted by Kristen Ashly on May 28, 2015

FX artist Rick Baker has announced his plans to retire on the eve of a massive Prop Store auction, which will be selling his personal makeup. The artist behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” announced his plans to 89.3 KPCC, stating he wants to take it easy, completing his craft on his own time.

Baker made it clear that his retirement is partially due to the overwhelming choice by movie studios to use VFX and CGI instead of traditional FX methods. That choice was seen when producers of 2010’s The Wolfman decided to cut his special effects in favor of digital ones.

“First of all, the CG stuff definitely took away the animatronics part of what I do. It’s also starting to take away the makeup part. The time is right, I am 64 years old, and the business is crazy right now. I like to do things right, and they wanted cheap and fast. That is not what I want to do, so I just decided it is basically time to get out. I would consider designing and consulting on something, but I don’t think I will have a huge working studio anymore.”

Baker won the very first Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling for his work on An American Werewolf in London. His work can also be seen in a wide variety of films, including Hellboy, King Kong, Harry and the Hendersons, and The Ring.

Mr. Baker will be sorely missed.

american_werewolf_in_london_behind_the_scenes_conv

 

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Yet Another TV Spot and Clip Stomp in for Jurassic World

Posted by Debi Moore on May 28, 2015

What Universal is calling “TV Spot #12″ has arrived for the upcoming Jurassic World, and if you haven’t seen enough yet to whet your appetite for this film, then read on!

Want even more? We also have a new clip courtesy of Yahoo! in which Chris Pratt’s character, Grady, intervenes and calms a trio of creeping carnivores when a worker’s life is jeopardized in the raptor paddock.

Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, BD Wong, and Judy Greer star in the film, which will be released June 12th in 3D by Universal Pictures.

Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) penned the script with Derek Connolly and directs. Steven Spielberg and Thomas Tull executive produce, and Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley produce Jurassic World, a new sci-fi terror adventure set 22 years after the horrific events of the original Jurassic Park.

Last chance not to see the creature as its image appears below under the trailers.

JSW_FaceOff1Sht5_RGB_0415_1_Web

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Jaws Returns To Theaters For Its 40th Anniversary

Posted by Kristen Ashly on May 28, 2015

You’re going to need a bigger boat. Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment invite fans to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the one of the most popular American thrillers of all time, when Jaws (1975) returns to select theaters nationwide for a special two-day only event on Sunday, June 21 and Wednesday, June 24 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., local time.

The event will be coming to nearly 500 theaters around the country, and will include a special introduction from TCM Weekend Daytime host Ben Mankiewicz, giving insight into how the classic shark scare still makes us think twice about jumping in that water.

Jaws is a classic thriller enjoyed by generations and it is ready for a comeback,” said Fathom Events Vice President of programming Kymberli Frueh-Owens. “Movie buffs will love seeing their favorite killer shark larger than life on the big screen. No risk of shark bite!
Tickets will be available starting May 29th, and you can learn more about the event at Fathom Events.
Jaws

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New Horror Game SOMA Leaks Teasers and Possible Story Lines

Posted by Kristen Ashly on May 28, 2015

SOMA, the upcoming deep-sea horror from developers Frictional Games, creators of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, is teasing something on its official website, hinting at a possible release date coming soon.

Frictional first announced SOMA in October 2013, hinting at bits of its story with a series of mysterious live action videos, and finally revealing its subaquatic setting with a gameplay trailer last year.

Frictional Games has been mostly quiet since then. A new SOMA screenshot debuted late February as Frictional prepped the game for closed beta, which officially launched in April, but that’s been it the extent of updates… until now.

We now know from Frictional’s official blog that SOMA is “pretty much complete,” with only a few missing assets that need plugging in.

Whether Frictional is hyping fans up for a release date could be revealed in the ARG currently running on the SOMA website, but it’s no guarantee. The URL of the ARG was hinted at on Twitter by Frictional Games and an account made for a research station called Pathos II.

From this mysterious page you can type a series of commands to reveal jumbled text and images. Start with “dir” and see where it takes you, or consult this Pastebin for a fan-made guide on how to navigate through it.

Fans have already uncovered a couple of videos, with more being featured on Frictional’s YouTube channel. The videos hidden by the ARG are unlisted.

Confused by all the secretive information? Take a look a the video below for explanations.

SOMA_converted

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Hannibal Is a New Man in this Preview of Episode 3.01 – Antipasto

Posted by Debi Moore on May 28, 2015

What’s this?  Two “Hannibal” stories within a few hours of each other?  Absolutely, and we’d be happy to post another should we get Part 2 of this “Premiere Preview” of next week’s Episode 3.01, “Antipasto.” Stay tuned!

“Hannibal” returns for its third season on June 4th, starring Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter, Hugh Dancy as Will Graham, Caroline Dhavernas as Alana Bloom, Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford, Gillian Anderson as Bedelia Du Maurier, and Tao Okamoto as Chiyoh. Season 3 guest stars include Joe Anderson taking over as Mason Verger (formerly played by Michael Pitt), Richard Armitage as Francis Dolarhyde (aka the Red Dragon), Zachary Quinto, Eddie Izzard, Glenn Fleshler, Rutina Wesley, and Raul Esparza.

“Hannibal” Episode 3.01 – “Antipasto” (6/4/15; 10-11 PM)
HANNIBAL IS ON THE RUN – EDDIE IZZARD AND ZACHARY QUINTO GUEST STAR – Having successfully escaped FBI capture, Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving through the European landscape, with Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) in tow. But Dr. Lecter’s old habits and opulent tastes are still on display as he settles into a new identity and life in Florence, Italy, working at the Palazzo Capponi museum. Glimpses into the past help inform his relationship with Bedelia, a pairing not clearly defined as friend or foe. Tom Wisdom and Jeremy Crutchley also guest star.

For more info be sure to visit “Hannibal” on NBC.com, “like” “Hannibal” on Facebook, and follow “Hannibal” on Twitter.

hannibal-premierebanner

 

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