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‘Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City’ Review: A Satisfying Guided Tour Through a Dying World

Posted by Max Weinstein on November 24, 2021 'Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City'

Not long after watching Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, I got to thinking about what makes a great horror game adaptation. 

I may be wrong about this—and I reserve the right to change my mind—but I don’t think it’s the characters. Consider Silent Hill: To date, it stands as the crown jewel of all game-to-screen adaptations. Christophe Gans’ 2006 film replaces the protagonist of the original game, Harry Mason, with Rose Da Silva—a new heroine who exists solely in the screenwriters’ re-telling. And that’s just fine, because first and foremost, Rose is a vessel through which audiences can explore the film’s nightmarish atmosphere. What makes her journey compelling is not that fans see her as some familiar face, but that the world she inhabits is a faithful recreation of the foggy netherworld in which its source material is set.

Johannes Roberts, who wrote and directed Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, understands all this quite well. Though I doubt he’d agree that characters are secondary to atmosphere in game adaptations, his new movie shows just how satisfying a horror story can be when its setting is truly the star of the show.

Roberts’ Raccoon City has a couple of defining traits. The first you’ll notice is its decay: In the film’s prologue, we enter into the Raccoon City Orphanage through rusty gates and weathered wooden doors. Inside, young Claire and Chris Redfield are having trouble sleeping as some unknown entity lurks in nearby shadows. From those early scenes onward, it’s all about the rainfall, which seems as if it’s on endless loop—crashing down on the city some decades later in 1998, when Claire (Kaya Scodelario) and Chris (Robbie Amell) are living out their dreary adult lives in their desolate hometown. Rickety road signs also tell us that the corrupt pharmaceutical company, Umbrella, is headquartered here, and that the specter of corporate control looms large.

Also Read: Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Director Tells Us 4 Ways the Movie Is Inspired by John Carpenter

Claire and Chris are joined by more Resident Evil mainstays: rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy (Avan Jogia), Chief Irons (Donal Logue), and members of the Special Tactics and Rescue Service (STARS), Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen) and Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper). The group are united in their efforts to investigate the Spencer Mansion, where a police squad has gone missing not long after an outbreak—caused, of course, by Umbrella—begins turning Raccoon City’s citizens into undead flesh-eaters.

While we do get fleeting glimpses of these characters’ individual tics and motives, Roberts is more interested in showing us how they work together—and break apart—once the action gets underway. In fact, this ensemble is driven almost entirely by action: Nearly every moment we spend with a character is a set-up for an encounter with some new mutated monster, zombie horde, or rabid, bloodthirsty hellhound. What really counts, then, is that these set-ups pay off, and most of them do. That’s largely because Roberts’ style is remarkably spare, favoring small-scale brushes with death over the kinetic melees of past Resident Evil films, in a way that heightens the actual horror that lies within this story. 

Marina Mazepa as Lisa Trevor in Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. Photograph by Shane Mahood

For all of its atmosphere, Welcome to Raccoon City isn’t above deploying a jump scare or two. But while I’m generally eager to dog-pile on directors who resort to this tired tactic, I was surprised by how tactfully Roberts plays with it, here. After all, the Resident Evil games have always prided themselves on exploiting our startle response, putting players face to face with zombies that lurch toward the screen, their slow and sloppy shuffle punctuated by a sudden groan and aggressive lunge toward their intended target. It’s clear that Roberts has studied the movement of the series’ zombies closely, and he transposes that seamlessly to the screen. 

That’s not to say that Welcome to Raccoon City will truly terrify or disturb you. It probably won’t. Even in one of its best scenes—in which a bumbling Leon struggles to subdue a zombie who just won’t die—the palpable threat of violence is undermined by some blaring musical cues that remind us we’re still watching a movie, whose heroes will always find a neat and tidy way to escape the bad things that befall them. 

Still, if nothing else, you’ll come away with the feeling that for the first time ever, the nasty world of Resident Evil at last lives on-screen. If you’re a fan of the games and looking forward to watching Welcome to Raccoon City, my best guess is that you want the movie to bring you a little closer to those eerie environs you first fell in love with. Production designer Jennifer Spence’s wonderfully detailed sets meet and exceed those expectations; cinematographer Maxime Alexandre steeps each scene in suffocating shadow; and every iconic creature—from Lisa Trevor to the licker—is true to their inspired original designs. 

Whether or not you’ll be inspired to stick with these characters’ stories when they’re inevitably continued in future installments is another matter. But if you find that there’s something oddly comforting about taking a gloomy guided tour through a world that’s hopelessly doomed, then this Raccoon City is worth the trip.

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City opened in theaters November 24, 2021, courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing.

10 Horror Apparel Companies To Support This Holiday Season

Posted by Mary Beth McAndrews on November 24, 2021 Black Christmas Banner - 10 Horror Apparel Companies To Support This Holiday Season

Us horror fans love to show support for our favorite movies. And what better way to do that than with a t-shirt? Or sweatpants? Or socks? Why not all three? We’re lucky to live in a time where there are a bounty of companies that sell incredible horror apparel for fans of all types of films. These companies don’t just show support for the big franchises like A Nightmare On Elm Street or Halloween. They know just how niche horror lovers’ obsessions go and they deliver.

Here are ten of our favorite apparel companies that deserve your support this holiday season, and really, any time of the year!

Cavity Colors

Cavity Colors knows how to do loungewear and incredible horror shirts. They have licensed collections for properties like Godzilla, Silent Night, Deadly Night, The Fly, Alien, and more. Plus, their joggers are so soft and will quickly become a work-from-home staple for any horror fan. They’re currently having a massive Black Friday sale so jump on it for both yourself and the horror lovers in your life.

Follow them on Instagram.

Em And Sprout

This Etsy shop is the perfect combination of cute and spooky. Em and Sprout is all about the sweeter side of horror, with their kawaii designs covering pajama sets, slippers, button-down shirts, earrings, and more. You’ll find horror friends such as Krampus, Sam from Trick ‘r Treat, and Mothman. If you’re a horror fan with a flair for the adorable, Em and Sprout is the perfect place to shop.

Follow them on Instagram.

Discount Cemetary

Discount Cemetary boasts simple, yet iconic shirts that’ll make any horror hound chuckle. Whether you want something simple that just says Blood Bath or a more intricate The ‘Burbs hoodie, this shop’s got you covered. I’m particularly a fan of their Moon Landing Film Crew swag. Also, they have a collection that pays homage to the greatest event of the year: the New Year’s Twilight Zone marathon.

Follow them on Instagram.

Fright-Rags

On their website, Fright-Rags states that they aim to make “the most kick-ass t-shirts, and backing them with the best possible service.” And boy do they deliver on that promise. They’re a horror apparel staple and have officially licensed collections with some of the biggest titles in horror. From shirts and hats to lounge pants and socks, Fright-Rags has you covered from head to toe. Don’t miss their Black Friday sale, starting this Friday at 12:01 AM EST.

Follow them on Instagram.

Gutter Garbs

If you’re a cult horror fan and have a love for horror sequels, then Gutter Garbs is the shop for you. Who cares about the original Halloween when you can show your love for the equally terrifying Halloween II? Plus they pay homage to films like The Stuff, Pumpkinhead, and Black Christmas with killer artwork you’ll want to sport every day of the week.

Follow them on Instagram.

Kneehigh Horror

This shop boasts designs featuring some of the best final girls of the New French Extremity, Asami from Audition, gory Midsommar moments, and much more. They don’t shy away from gore, either, so you can sport gnarly shirts at this year’s holiday gatherings. Not only does Kneehigh Horror have shirts, but they also put their designs on flags, enamel pins, masks, and more.

Follow them on Instagram.

Poltergeists and Paramours

horror

There is a shocking lack of horror lingerie out there. But thanks to Poltergeists and Paramours, that void has been filled. Her designs are sexy, scary, and, most importantly, so comfortable. But she does more than lingerie. She does shirts, dresses, activewear, and even made an incredible replica of the hand sweater seen in Black Christmas.

Follow them on Instagram.

Rough Cut Fan Club

Like their site states, Rough Cut Fan Club makes movie shirts for punks. Their one-of-a-kind designs pay tribute to not only horror films like Phantom of the Paradise and Mandy, but to queer classics like A Funeral Parade of Roses. They even sell a shirt from the best Treehouse of Horrors segment, Homer3. Their offerings are so unique and gorgeous to look at. Rough Cut Fan Club is truly selling works of horror shirt art.

Follow them on Instagram.

Super Yaki

Super Yaki is known for their super-specific shirts that show unwavering support for incredible talents like Judy Greer and Mike Flanagan. They also partner with small, independent illustrators to create one-of-a-kind collections that show off favorite final girls and more. Their shirts, hats, sweatshirts, and more are incredible quality. Their Scream and Jennifer’s Body collections are particularly exceptional.

Follow them on Instagram.

Toxic Coffin

Want more horror shirts dedicated to those films that don’t always get the merch treatment? Then Toxic Coffin is the place to shop. Their offerings are limited, but don’t let that deter you. Their designs are top-notch. I’ve been eyeing their Fright Night long sleeve tee and writing about them may just get me to press “purchase.”

Follow them on Instagram.

9 Made-for-TV Horror Films That are Far Better Than They Should be

Posted by Tyler Doupe' on November 24, 2021 made-for-TV

Made-for-TV horror films aren’t typically seen as fine art or even as being particularly noteworthy by some fans. But there are at least a handful of instances where filmmakers have managed to overcome the budgetary constraints and censorship standards imposed on cinematic endeavors crafted for the boob tube. And with that in mind, I am looking back on nine made-for-TV films that exceeded expectations.  

Don’t expect to see anything from Hulu, Netflix, or Prime on this list. There is some incredible output to be found from streaming services. But those projects often have a bigger budget behind them than titles made for broadcast. 

With that said, I now present to you nine made-for-television horror films that are far better than they should have been. 

Bad Ronald

I can only imagine how frightened I would have been if I’d stumbled upon this film in my formative years. It actually scared me, seeing it for the first time as an adult. The titular character is menacing but his overbearing mother might be even worse. Together, the pair serve as pure nightmare fuel. The idea of a family moving into a home with a murderous young man living inside the walls gives me the creeps just thinking about it. While not perfect, Bad Ronald is a great example of how to serve up the thrills and chills without a massive budget or the ability to depict a great deal of onscreen violence. 

Bad Ronald Made-for-TV Horror

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

The first time I watched Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, I remember being struck by just how, well, dark it is. Made-for-television fare often has a happy ending or a moral to the story that’s being told. But this flick has a pretty downbeat conclusion and I love that. Opting out of the ‘happily ever after’ trope was a bold move for a made-for-TV film. And that film is better for it. The way that no one believes Sally (Kim Darby) when she insists there are pint-sized creatures with malevolent intentions running around her home is chilling. The film effectively captures the sense of isolation she feels. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is atmospheric and likely to instill a sense of paranoia and dread in its audience that won’t let up until the final frame. 

Don’t be afraid of the dark made-for-tv horror

Slumber Party Massacre

I was pleasantly surprised by just how good Slumber Party Massacre (2021) is. The film manages to capture the spirit of the original while separating itself and existing as its own entity. The flick nods to the original and pokes some good-natured fun at it. But this reboot tells its own story that subverts expectations and sends the kind of fierce feminist message the original wanted to serve up. If this is the future of made-for-tv horror, I am here for it. 

Slumber Party Massacre

Someone’s Watching Me!

One of John Carpenter’s earliest efforts, Someone’s Watching Me! has the famed director’s fingerprints all over it. The tension is palpable. The film delivers a mounting sense of dread courtesy of an eerie score and effective camerawork. The notion that a woman is being pursued by a mysterious perpetrator in a time before stalking laws were commonplace lends an extra layer of helplessness to the nightmarish ordeal to which lead character Leigh (Lauren Hutton) is subjected. Carpenter thrives, in spite of the limitations imposed upon him by creating for the small screen. 

Someone’s Watching you made-for-tv horror

Trilogy of Terror

Among the late Karen Black’s most memorable genre efforts is Trilogy of Terror. Black plays four different roles over the film’s three vignettes. Each segment spins a sinister tale designed to thrill and chill in equal measure. For most fans, the third vignette (with the killer Zuni Fetish Doll) is the standout effort in this televised anthology. And that point was made abundantly clear when the original doll prop sold for upwards of $200k at auction in 2019. The flick isn’t perfect, but considering it was made for the small screen on a modest budget, it gets a lot right. And it has certainly stood the test of time. 

Dark Night of the Scarecrow

This tense and suspenseful tale of a malevolent scarecrow frightened audiences upon its initial broadcast forty years ago and continues to delight and frighten viewers discovering it for the first time via DVD or streaming. The flick features sincere performances from its leads and a series of relatively tame but still intense kill sequences. Dark Night of the Scarecrow avoids many of the made-for-television trappings and stands out as a picture that people will continue to revisit for years to come.

It

It is the rare instance of a made-for-TV film (technically a miniseries) that was so effective, people were outraged when the announcement of a remake surfaced. That kind of outrage is typically reserved for remake announcements regarding theatrical fare. But the way the film imprinted on fans is a testament to the power of Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise and the picture itself. Curry is likely responsible for more than a few cases of coulrophobia. The film remains a nostalgic favorite for an entire generation of viewers that likely saw the flick a bit younger than they should have. 

IT

Duel 

An early Steven Spielberg, effort, Duel remains supremely terrifying a whopping fifty years after its inaugural airing. It’s surprising that a film as intensely taut as this was relegated to a broadcast television release. But it is, nonetheless, an exciting ride that keeps the viewer in a nonstop state of suspense as David (Dennis Weaver) is pursued by a maniac in a big rig. The film also serves as a cautionary tale to be courteous on the road… Or else. 

Duel made-for-tv horror

Salem’s Lot 

Salem’s Lot has stood the test of time and continues to chill viewers to this day. The window sequence, in particular, remains terrifying and effective. Yes, the program was considered a miniseries at the time of release. But for today’s purposes, I think it fits the bill. Salem’s Lot is atmospheric, spooky, and managed to rise above its made-for-TV origins.  

Salem’s Lot

What are some of your favorite made-for-TV horror films? Hit us up on  Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

‘Alien Abduction: Incident In Lake County’ Is The Perfect Thanksgiving Horror Movie

Posted by Mary Beth McAndrews on November 24, 2021 AlienAbduction - ‘Alien Abduction: Incident In Lake County’ Is The Perfect Thanksgiving Horror Movie

Thanksgiving is a holiday based on contradictions. It is a celebration of what we’re thankful for, but was founded in colonialism. It’s all about being with family, but oftentimes that family brings us anxiety and rage rather than comfort and love. Thanksgiving exists in this strange liminal space between Halloween and Christmas. It’s part of the nebulous holiday season that seems to stretch longer and longer with each passing year.

Basically, Thanksgiving is really weird and it’s something I grapple with every year. I’ve had my fair share of terrible Thanksgiving dinners, like when my brother stole my mom’s credit card and spent thousands of dollars trying to cover up a PayPal scam he fell for. That’s why I absolutely adore Dean Alioto’s made-for-TV found footage film Alien Abduction: Incident In Lake County. It’s a film that perfectly encapsulates the strange contradictions of Thanksgiving, all while aliens wreak havoc on a crumbling family unit.

Now, Alien Abduction has a strange production history. It’s actually a remake of Alioto’s 1989 film The McPherson Tape, which is quite possibly the first found footage film. The McPherson Tape is a horrifying account of an alien invasion during a kid’s birthday party. It’s mundane, and feels just like a family home video; there’s no story or point to what’s going on (until the aliens appear). Then, nine years later, Alioto remade the now cult classic. This time he shifted the focus to Thanksgiving and added more action and alien horrors. Reorienting the narrative from a birthday to a holiday all about being together leads to a harrowing story about a family pretending everything is OK in the face of trauma and tragedy.

Also Read: 5 Movies About Seriously Messed Up Families To Watch This Thanksgiving

 Alien Abduction takes place on Thanksgiving Day at the remote family home of the McPhersons. There are three brothers, a sister, a mother, and a gaggle of partners and kids who flit around the house in preparation for dinner. The youngest, Tommy, grabs the video camera and chooses to document the gathering for posterity’s sake. But the camera quickly begins to reveal the complexities of the McPherson family.

Their father has recently passed and every family member is grieving in their own way. For their mother, it’s heavy drinking, noted by the glass of red wine that never leaves her hand. For the eldest brother Kurt, it manifests as trying to be the father figure through aggressively ordering everyone around. Then, for youngest brother Tommy, it’s desperately asking for help to deal with mom’s drinking, only to be told it’s his job to fix it. This is a family in the throes of grief, and yet no one seems to want to talk about it. And what speaks to the Thanksgiving spirit more than pretending trauma doesn’t exist?

Alien Abduction

Also Read: ‘Kristy’ Makes for a Thanksgiving to Remember [Rotten Outlook]

We can’t forget Kurt’s racism that manifests as their sister Melanie arrives with her boyfriend Matthew, who happens to be Black. He gives Matthew the cold shoulder and asks his brothers, “why didn’t she tell us he was Black?” To the brothers’ credit, they let out a chorus of “why does it even matter?” It’s an incredibly unnerving moment that speaks to an unfortunately common experience of witnessing racism from family members and not knowing what exactly to do or say. This is only made worse when Kurt stops himself from yelling racial slurs at Matthew mere minutes later. Before the aliens even show up, Alien Abduction perfectly, and painfully, captures what it means to be home for the holidays.

Then the aliens arrive. They burst into the film with a flash of light and a giant spaceship that the brothers discover in the neighbor’s pasture. These are not the type of extraterrestrials who come in peace. No, they’re here to destroy, as made evident by their red laser beams that burn and slice through human flesh. And yet, even with three witnesses screaming about the invaders, no one believes them. Instead, their mother continues to usher them to the dinner table, laden with turkey and all the fixings.

Also Read: These 10 Holiday Horror Titles Should be on Your Shortlist

The dinner table here, and at most Thanksgiving dinners, symbolizes normalcy. The turkey is there, along with the mashed potatoes and stuffing, so everything is how it should be. This is a place for peace, a place to pretend that everything is OK. But it’s a false symbol. That oblong piece of wood weighed down with food and emotional baggage can’t magic away death, sadness, or the extraterrestrial threat lurking right outside the window. Just like you can’t outrun grief, the McPhersons can’t deny the presence that is determined to destroy their Thanksgiving dinner. Aliens don’t have the holiday, after all.

On top of emanating the perfect Thanksgiving ethos, there are quite a few films that owe a lot to Alien Abduction. Released a year before The Blair Witch Project, Alien Abduction includes an on-camera confession scene that is a direct precursor to Heather’s own tear-filled confession in Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Merrick’s found-footage phenomenon. In Alien Abduction, Tommy retreats to the bathroom for a brief reprieve from the chaos, a coping mechanism I’m all too familiar with. While I’ve never been the victim of an alien abduction, the bathroom has seen many of my tears during more explosive dinners. As Tommy places the camera down on the counter and starts to talk, I’m reminded of the times I’ve called my boyfriend, now fiance, hyperventilating about whatever is happening right outside the door.

Also Read: BLAIR WITCH: Why Adam Wingard’s Found Footage Reboot Failed

Sometimes, all you can do is sit on the toilet and talk about what you’re feeling. It may not make sense, but at least you’re getting out of your head. Tommy is grappling with his imminent death at the tender age of 16. Tommy is still a baby and yet he has shouldered his mother’s trauma and his brothers’ grief. On top of that, he’s been trying to keep everyone calm in the face of death. It’s absolutely harrowing to watch as you, and Tommy, know nothing but doom awaits him. And yet he still wants to acknowledge what’s going on. Perhaps it’s too little, too late, but it’s acknowledgment nonetheless.

Alien Abduction

Sanchez and Merrick wanted to capture that emotional gut punch in The Blair Witch Project, and they sure were successful. There is something about that direct address to the camera and being so emotionally raw with whoever may be watching that makes these moments feel like more than fiction. It’s more uncomfortable than any jump scare because we are meant to sit with these feelings. We are forced to acknowledge the emotional weight of the impending tragedy.

Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County is a triumph that takes the mundane act of Thanksgiving dinner and makes it heartbreaking and absolutely terrifying. The found-footage format lends itself to a personal feel that makes the film feel all the more real. Thanksgiving horror is hard to come by. But this is a piece of genre filmmaking that understands what makes this holiday so terrifying. It captures the contradictions of the celebration and the complexities of family, with an alien abduction added for good, horrific measure. 

‘Evil Dead Rise’: Bruce Campbell Shares Wild New Plot Details

Posted by Josh Korngut on November 24, 2021 bruce scaled - 'Evil Dead Rise': Bruce Campbell Shares Wild New Plot Details

Things have been a little quiet on the Evil Dead Rise front ever since we reported that the new sequel has wrapped filming (6500 litres of blood later, no less.)

Now producer Bruce Campbell is back with some updates on the legacy franchise. The legendary actor, writer and producer sat down with German horror publication Blair Witch.de to share some brand new insight into the latest Evil Dead affair.

Here is Bruce’s latest update on Evil Dead Rise:

It’s [about] a single mom who now has to deal with this book. These days it’s more about the book. That book gets around. Passed along, people try and get rid of it, they try to bury it or destroy it and they really can’t. So this book just keeps popping up, so really it’s just another story of what happens if this book appears in this particular group of people’s lives and how it intersects.”

Bruce Campbell continued by saying “this family is not the same at the end of the movie. They’re gutted. The whole family is destroyed. These people get possessed. Brothers and sisters, sons, daughters, you know. So yeah, it’s a family affair, this one’s a family affair. They’re all related in this one. I think that makes the possession and killing your siblings – things like that, even harder. Because in the original Evil Dead, there was only one brother/sister combo, Ash and his sister Sheryl. The rest were just friends. Now this is all, they’re all related in this household. Much more excruciating.”

While Campbell has been clear from the start of production that he will not be making an appearance, we’re still excited as hell to see what Evil Dead Rise has in store. Putting the action in a totally different setting could be the refresher the franchise has been looking for since the 2013 remake starring Jane Levy. 

Evil Dead Rise hails from Lee Cronin (dir. The Hole in the Ground) and stars Alyssa Sutherland, Lily Sullivan, Gabrielle Echols, Morgan Davies, and Nell Fisher. Both Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi are serving as executive producers.

Evil Dead Rise

Are you a fan of Evil DeadAre you excited for Evil Dead Rise to hit HBO Max? Let me know on Twitter via @joshkorngut. I’m always down to talk Evil Dead and all things horror! Dread Central is now on Google News!

Feeling The Groove of Death In ‘Final Destination’ [Spins and Needles]

Posted by R.C. Jara on November 24, 2021 Final Destination

Welcome to Spins And Needles, a monthly column where R.C. Jara digs into a famous needle drop from the world of horror. This month, they dig into a few of the iconic musical moments from Final Destination.


As difficult as it may be to watch now, Final Destination is musically rich. Often, it’s the late, great Shirley Walker who guides the viewer through the existential dread at the film’s center. Walker’s score captures the emotional rollercoaster of loss after loss. It also never fails to imbue iconic scenes-such as the introduction of Tony Todd’s Bludworth-with proper menace. Haunting brass notes play over the opening images of our protagonist’s room, building carefully to a string section. In Walker’s hands, close-ups of unremarkable objects carry a sense of foreboding. At times, the score leans into the mystery of the narrative. Trumpets evoke the gray morality of film noir and the foggy headspace of characters fully attuned to the troubled world around them. 

When we are introduced to Alex Browning (Devon Sawa), he is already a character on the verge of combustion. Before he boards the cursed flight that would claim the lives of nearly everyone in his French class, Sawa plays Alex’s superstitions with empathy and a slightly unhinged demeanor. He is able to pull the film to his center and his paranoid inflections make the drama palatable. The role of an abstract tormentor heightens his abject fear.

Also Read: Diabolus in Haddonfield: The Legacy of Brutality in Rob Zombie’s ‘Halloween II’

There is a heavily pronounced sense of anxiety around young adulthood in the film that none of the grownups are able to pick up on. The warmth of a loving family exists almost tangentially. Alex is sent off to France during an uncomfortable scene with his parents, where his concerns go unspoken. Save for brief interactions with the father of his best friend Tod Waggner (Chad Donella), there’s a disconnect between parent and child. This makes the tragedy of Flight 180 all the more heartbreaking. 

Final Destination

Though writer Jeffrey Reddick had to compromise on aging his characters down, the finished film is ultimately better for it. Final Destination feels like the worthy successor to Wes Craven’s vision of tortured youth in A Nightmare On Elm Street, which Reddick himself has cited as an influence. Similar to Nightmare’s Nancy Thompson, Alex must navigate a world where he is constantly being talked down to or ignored by people with authority. A lack of solidarity with Nancy claims people in her circle. Eventually, she is left alone to tackle Freddy Krueger at the expense of unprocessed survivor’s guilt.

Final Destination updates that theme by dispersing that pressure on each teenager and making a pariah out of Alex. But there is no dream demon to act as a proxy for the sins of the parents. Instead, the kids in Final Destination are held in contempt of the adults around them. Their fears and judgments are directly projected onto Alex. Although the extent to which overbearing authority figures have a hand in screwing up their children is less pronounced than in Craven’s film, it is still present. 

Also Read: The Sting of Heavy Metal in Dario Argento’s ‘Phenomena’

The memorial service is a scene emblematic of a repressed milieu in the aftermath of Flight 180. The service comes off impersonal in spite of mass death. Even the priest’s sermon is cold in tone. Every gesture here is platitudinous and creepy with the dead themselves being commemorated by a giant sculpture of an eagle. Lacking the space to properly grieve, the core group of student survivors is left with nothing to do other than go at each other’s throats. Not even the harrowing death of Alex’s only friend opens him up to sympathy.

Tod is a catalyst for Alex to find purpose in the chaos, though he becomes a vessel for more conspiracy theories than he knows how to handle, and it takes him the better part of the film’s runtime to figure out “death’s design.”  The more Alex investigates, the more he dissociates and the film constantly threatens to fall apart with him. As Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) puts it, Alex is “reluctant to take shape.” Reddick, along with director James Wong, effectively synthesizes the growing pains of young adulthood with supernatural horror. Every step Alex takes in the journey to find answers to life’s most esoteric questions is the exact wrong one. Coupled with the alienation from a coherent support system, the hopelessness of the film is overwhelming. Yet the film is not without a nasty sense of humor.

Also Read: ‘Black Friday’ Starring Bruce Campbell and Devon Sawa Arrives This November

Aside from Walker’s score, Final Destination’s needle drops are integral to its wild plotting. What separates the music in this film from other teen-centric horror films is its capacity for turning grim moments inside out. Whether this takes away from the overall impact is subjective. But hearing a death-obsessed teenager unpack John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High ” while “torquing a wicked cable” is exactly the kind of gag that keeps the film from dipping into self-seriousness. The song is fiendishly woven into the film’s identity, making Ms. Lewton’s death more horrifying. The audience hears the wistful country ballad playing in the background while Alex scrambles around the house leaving all kinds of biometric evidence. It also throws the good vibes in the finale off-center, dragging back that feeling of impending doom.

Final Destination

The film closes with a cover of Laura Nyro’s “And When I Die,” a song that provides an ironic counterpoint to everything that came before. However, as a former anxious, death-obsessed teenager, it’s the usage of Nine Inch Nails’ “Into The Void” that intrigues me most. With a lack of imagination, it’s easy to scoff at the probability of some executive taking a look at 1999’s Modern Rock Chart on Billboard, picking out the song that explicitly croons the movie’s title, and calling it a day. But its inclusion resonates beyond the incidental. 

Also Read: Interview: Devon Sawa Talks HUNTER HUNTER And Gives Update On BLACK FRIDAY!

“Into The Void” plays diegetically from Carter’s stereo only once as he runs the hapless Billy Hitchcock (Sean William Scott) off the road. His resentment is solely focused on Alex, who he takes every opportunity to confront. “Pictures in my head of the final destination” is perfectly audible in this scene, serving as a taunting reminder that each survivor is on borrowed time. What’s curious about the song’s perspective, however, is that it looks inward. Reading it as a piece of solipsistic writing, the message is one of despair. It works both as moody ambiance and a soundtrack to Carter’s volatile headspace. “Into the Void” revisits themes from Nine Inch Nails’ previous record The Downward Spiral.

As one of the more pop-oriented tracks off of The Fragile, “Into the Void” retains all the funk of the rhythm section in “Closer” while eschewing its cries for mercy. And its lyrics build to an intense refrain similar to “The Becoming.” The former’s “it won’t give up, it wants me dead/Goddamn this noise inside my head” feeds the crushing realization of “Tried to save myself but my self keeps slipping away.”

There is a visceral element to Carter questioning his own mortality that actively works against Alex’s more calculated interpretation. The scene where Carter recklessly pushes himself and the others to their limit encapsulates the absurdity of the film’s plot. If the group decides to take their own lives, so what? If you’re gonna go, why not run your car into a train than wait to be offed by a cracked mug full of vodka and an unfortunately placed set of kitchen knives? 

Also Read: Exclusive: Devon Sawa on THE FANATIC + National Tragedy That Tanked Potential IDLE HANDS Franchise

Sticking with the Nightmare analogy, Kerr Smith’s version of Rod Lane is just as scared and confused. But he is given more agency to explore his gripe with death. That Carter also watches his girlfriend die unceremoniously isn’t the only source of his baggage. Amanda Detmer’s Terr has somewhat of a thankless role in the film. Despite being one of the only people who does not have a violent reaction towards Alex, Terry becomes a morbid punchline alluding to one of horror’s most imitated jumpscares: the Lewton bus. Much like her French teacher, Terry’s death is a gag that pushes the film past the border of good taste.

Both scenes helped to establish a series tradition of slapstick demise. Final Destination relishes in the harshness of every character’s death like its sequels. But it also makes the point that each person is fated to the same end, if by different means. Their reluctance to coalesce feels like a byproduct of growing up in a disjointed community. And like Reznor’s noisy and tonally intricate The Fragile, intrusive thoughts surrounding death and its ripple effects are firmly established in the film. “Into the Void” might play like a throwaway track. Yet its pessimistic sensibilities align with the concerns of the group of misfit survivors.

Also Read: The Brilliantly Subversive Sounds of ROB’s ‘Gretel & Hansel’ Score [Terror on the Turntable]

All told, Final Destination’s balance of dark humor and malaise is a sincere effort to channel those special teen years where you feel like everything is trying its damndest to kill you. I admire where its heart is at. It isn’t “funny” to think about the weight of every obligation, heartache and trauma of being that age. But watching a sweaty kid try to map out a structure for problems beyond his control alongside a smitten, orphaned alt girl is incredibly entertaining. Truthfully, I never want anything bad to happen to these characters. I always hold my breath at Tod’s scene and I giggle uncontrollably when Stifler gets domed.

This is a film that will always elicit a reaction from me, no matter how many dozens of times I turn it on. Much like Final Destination is a comfort film, The Fragile is a comfort album. “Into the Void” specifically has a music video featuring the NIN guys throwing shit at each other while singing about being on the absolute edge. I’d be lying if I said I don’t feel like shaking ass every time it comes on my playlist rotation. Both pieces of media approach death and its destructive capabilities. They also both let you laugh and dance through it all. 

‘Scream 5’ Celebrates “Friendskilling” With Mysterious New Message

Posted by Josh Korngut on November 24, 2021 Neve Campbell Courteney Cox Scream 5 scaled - 'Scream 5' Celebrates "Friendskilling" With Mysterious New Message

With Thanksgiving around the corner, the upcoming fifth Scream film has shared a cryptic new seasonal post to celebrate. The legacy franchise took to Twitter today to share a series of animated character posters for the next entry... and we have theories.

The spooky new motion-poster acts as a slide show of characters familiar and fresh. As the carousel of faces cycle from character to character, the new tagline runs red. It’s always someone you know. Seems appropriate, since Thanksgiving is all about surrounding yourselves with the people you love. And it’s the people we love who are most likely to murder us. Sad facts are facts, America.

And honestly, the more I encounter this phrase the more suspect I’m becoming of the original cast. If it’s someone we know… it sure as hell aint that kid from 13 Reasons Why.

Check out the spooky new Scream promo here:

I also still can’t help but notice that these Scream materials bear a resemblance to the first marketing materials used for Halloween 2018. Since that reboot was such a monumental commercial success, it’s probably a smart move. 

Scream features an exciting cast of faces new and familiar, not unlike the casting setup of the criminally underrated Scream 4. New cast members include rising stars Jack Quaid (TV’s The Boys), Dylan Minette (TV’s 13 Reasons Why), and Jenna Ortega (Netflix’s upcoming Wednesday series). Legacy ensemble Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette have also signed on.

'Scream'

What do you think of the latest Scream promo? I can’t wait to see what updates Paramount shares next. Are you psyched about the new sequel arriving in January?  Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! Dread Central is now on Google News!

‘Double Walker’: Composer Mark Walker Talks When A Weapon Becomes an Instrument

Posted by Jordan von Netzer on November 23, 2021 Double Walker

Sylvie Mix’s Double Walker (Mix wrote, produced and stars) is now available in theaters and OnDemand. In case you aren’t familiar with the film, it follows a young Ghost (Mix) as she haunts her cold Midwestern hometown, trying to piece together the horrific flashes of memories from her past. One by one she kills the men she believes were responsible for her death, though her plan is derailed when she meets Jack (Jacob Rice), a kind movie theater usher who inadvertently intercepts as she’s stalking her next victim. While Jack takes her in and offers her a glimpse at a normal life, her desire to avenge her own murder lingers on.

Horror fanatics know that any object can be turned into a killing device, whether it be an ice skate in Halloween H20, a dog door in Scream, or even an icicle in Black Christmas. In Double Walker, the weapon of choice happens to be a sharp spoon. The film’s composer, Mark Hadley, wanted to incorporate this into the score. Aside from using normal instruments such as a gong and vibraphone, he recorded different piano parts using a spoon to strike the strings and other parts of the piano. The end result was exactly what Hadley and the film’s director Colin West wanted it to be: an ominous, musical tone poem. Hadley discusses this and much more with Dread Central.

Double Walker

Dread Central: What was it like working with director Colin West? How was your experience with him on Double Walker different than previous films you have worked on with other directors?

Mark Hadley: Working with Colin West is always a pleasure because we have a great friendship and mutual admiration for one another. The experience was different perhaps in that our discussions began really early in the process. 

DC: Sylvie Mix stars in the film, but is also the writer and producer. Did she give you any notes about the score?

MH: She’s amazing and no she didn’t give me any notes about the score.

DC: How do you decide what level the score needs to be? For example, in Double Walker, sometimes the score is front and center, and other times it is faint in the back.

MH: I don’t necessarily make that decision as the movie gets to its final mix, however I try to score dynamically so that adjustment isn’t always needed.

DC: The score in horror projects tends to be more prominent than in other genres. Knowing this, did you feel any extra pressure to deliver?

MH: In a sense I suppose, I think horror is a particular genre and presents some interesting challenges with scoring, so it can certainly take time and experimentation to find what’s right. 

DC: Are you personally a fan of horror? Was there a particular film that made you appreciate the genre more?

MH: I do love horror films, always have since I saw Scream. My favorite horror film is It Follows, that score had a big impact on me, as did the score for Midsommar. I think some of the more innovative films in the genre have really broadened what the term Horror even means and that is super inspiring to see so much expansion within the genre. 

DC: A spoon plays an important part of the movie. We heard you incorporated a spoon into the score, can you elaborate on that?

MH: Yeah, I always try to make the score and film as cohesive as possible, and sometimes that can be as literal as striking the strings of my piano with a spoon at certain points. 

DC: What do you consider to be the most important job as a composer, when working on a project?

MH: Maintaining clear communication with the director and editor.  

DC: You also scored one of the installments of Into the Dark. Is working for Blumhouse any different than working with other production companies, because they are pretty much dominating the horror world at the moment?

MH: Well, it was certainly a treat to work on that film because in addition to it coming from Blumhouse, the writer and director Maggie Levin was incredible to work with, and co-scoring it with Keeley Bumford was super fun. The project was special. I always want to do my best work.  

DC: What are you working on next?

MH: I’m working on some original music for my artist project Hark Madley. 

You can find Mark Hadley’s score on Apple Music.

Double Walker

5 Movies About Seriously Messed Up Families To Watch This Thanksgiving

Posted by Sharai Bohannon on November 23, 2021 Family

‘Tis the season where most people end up going home for the holidays. While I do not take part in this phenomenon, I do appreciate a fucked up horror family just as much as the next spooky bitch. I present to you a list of horror movie families so messed up that it makes most of our families look at least a tiny bit better. 

The Loved Ones (2009)

Family

Where You Can Watch: Amazon Prime

When Brent turns down Lola’s invite to the school prom, he finds himself at a very twisted (and deadly) party hosted by her and her dad instead. Most of our parents made questionable choices when we were growing up, but hopefully, your dad did not help you kidnap and torture the boy who would not take you to prom. 

The People Under the Stairs (1991)

family

Where You Can Watch: Peacock  

When a kid breaks into the home of his landlords’ he finds out the creepy couple has been stealing kids from the neighborhood and keeping them in the basement. By the time you realize the couple stealing the kids are also siblings, you will be so disgusted that you will forgive whatever you were fighting about with your siblings.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Where You Can Watch: Amazon Prime, Tubi, Showtime Anytime, Shudder

This list would not feel complete without the family that gave us Leatherface! Five teens stumble upon a house and a chainsaw-wielding fellow that is part of a family of cannibals. 

If you are not from a family of cannibals, you probably have to begrudgingly give your family some points for however they resolve conflict. 

We Are What We Are (2013)

family

Where You Can Watch: Pluto TV, Tubi, Shudder, Vudu

The reclusive and traditional family in a small town has a lot of secrets. When the mother dies, leaving the daughters to pick up some of her duties, the town begins to realize that this family might be part of a cannibalistic cult. Once you watch them slurp people soup you will feel way better about the sketchy food items your relatives have contributed to the holiday feast. 

*Various horror podcasters have told me the original version from Mexico is better, and I plan to rent it because I believe them.

You’re Next (2011)

Family

Where You Can Watch: Hulu

A rich and estranged family comes together to celebrate their parents’ anniversary. However, the awkward times are broken up when men in animal masks start attacking their gorgeous home during dinner. Your family might be many things, but odds are they are not rich enough to hire a group of hitmen to ruin your family dinner. 

Two movies that I love that are not streaming on the usual suspects are Ready Or Not (2019) on VOD and A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) on Horror TV. Both are dark in their own unique way and might also make you resent your family a little less this holiday season. 

Hopefully, this list makes some of the relatives you are dreading seem a little bit less fucked up. If not, then maybe you found some new movies to watch when you make up a vague reason to disappear from the familial get-togethers. 

Did your favorite messed-up family not make it onto the list? Let me know at @misssharai!

‘The Art Of Goosebumps’: This New Book Collects All Of The Original Covers

Posted by Josh Korngut on November 23, 2021 Goosebumps Scary Covers 3 750x422 1 - 'The Art Of Goosebumps': This New Book Collects All Of The Original Covers

The absolute coolest thing about the original run of Goosebumps books were never the stories themselves. Sure, some of the books had spooky and memorable plots, but what made R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series so iconic were those wild covers. If you don’t have those bad boys ingrained into your psyche, you did the 90s wrong.

Well, 90s kids, good news arrives just in time for the holidays. The artwork featured on the original run of books has been collected by Dynamite Entertainment. That’s right, all of those sweet Tim Jabobus covers will be collected in one place.

The all new book, Beware: The Art of Goosebumps will hit the streets on November 30th from Dynamite Entertainment and editor/writer Sarah Rodriguez,. Better yet, you can pre order the beautiful tome right now by visiting Amazon.

Check out the official cover art here:

Here a few tantalizing excepts from the project:

“Featuring tons of fun facts about the series alongside a walkthrough of all books and covers in the Goosebumps collections, this art book is a must-have for old and new fans alike!”

“In the summer of 1992, Scholastic tasked two terrifyingly talented artists with creating the cover paintings for the books that would premiere the Goosebumps series. Stine’s particular brand of humor-tinged horror. One element that was sure to catch the attention of little eyes everywhere was striking cover art. And, boy, did they find it!”

“The imagery provided by the covers of the Goosebumps series is part and parcel to the 90s Kid zeitgeist, helping to create a visual brand for R.L. Stine’s smash-hit horror series. The covers helped set the tone for the numerous adaptations of the series, including a television series, a theatre experience, and, more recently, blockbuster films!”

Lastly, will you be getting yourself a copy of Beware: The Art of Goosebumps on November 30th? Let me know on Twitter via @joshkorngut. I’m always around to chat all things Goosebumps.