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.
The CW just released the synopses for all of its shows airing during the week of November 10th, and while there’s some good stuff ahead on each of the series we cover here at Dread Central, what caught our eye was the description of “Supernatural” Episode 10.05, “Fan Fiction.”
Read on for the first details of the fan favorite series’ milestone 200th episode.
“Supernatural” Episode 10.05 – “Fan Fiction” (airs 11/11/14) SUPERNATURAL CELEBRATES ITS 200TH EPISODE — When Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) investigate the disappearance of a teacher, they are stunned to see the school is putting on a musical based on their lives.
Familiar faces abound in this milestone episode directed by Phil Sgriccia and written by Robbie Thompson.
Greg Berlanti is a TV force to be reckoned with these days, what with his production company’s “Arrow” and “The Flash” burning up the small screen; and now he’s dipping his toes into another comic’s universe with “Riverdale,” based on the Archie gang.
The news is out: “Riverdale,” a one-hour drama based on the iconic Archie comic book characters, has landed at Fox. Warner Brothers Studios is producing along with studio-based Berlanti Productions.
“Riverdale” offers a bold, subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica, and their friends, exploring the surrealistic twists of small-town life plus the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade.
Set in the present in the small fictional town of Riverdale, New York, the show will focus on the eternal love triangle of Archie Andrews, girl-next-door Betty Cooper, and rich socialite Veronica Lodge and will include the entire cast of characters from the comic books—including Archie’s rival, Reggie Mantle, and his slacker best friend, Jughead Jones. Popular gay character Kevin Keller will also play a pivotal role. In addition to the core cast, “Riverdale” will introduce other characters from Archie Comics’ expansive library, including Josie and the Pussycats.
The show will be produced by Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Productions and written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
Bertlanti’s track record as a producer includes a number of small-town teen dramas, such as the acclaimed “Jack & Bobby” and “Dawson’s Creek,” and superhero fare pulled from the four-color pages of legendary comic books like Arrow and The Flash. Aguirre-Sacasa, in addition to being the Chief Creative Officer at Archie Comics, also writes two of the publisher’s best-selling titles – the horror series Afterlife with Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. He spent three years as a writer on “Glee” and penned the remake of teen-angst classic Carrie and the cult horror classic The Town that Dreaded Sundown as well as the Broadway-bound musical adaptation of American Psycho.
“This is a historic moment for Archie Comics, and we couldn’t be happier to partner with Fox, Warner Bros., and Greg Berlanti to bring our characters to television,” said Archie Comics Publisher/Co-CEO Jon Goldwater. “Greg and Roberto are experts when it comes to making great, compelling television and bringing beloved comic book creations to life on the screen. They’re the perfect team to welcome viewers to ‘Riverdale.’”
“This is something we’ve been working on for a while now, figuring out the best way to bring these characters to life for what will be, essentially, the first time,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “The entire team working on ‘Riverdale’ is as passionate about Archie as Jon and I are, so it feels like the stars have finally aligned for Archie and the rest of the gang.”
We’ll be keeping an eye on this one; here’s hoping some of Afterlife‘s genre flavor carries over into the series.
MIA in the latest installment of “The Originals,” Mikael and Davina return with a vengeance in next week’s Episode 2.04, “Live and Let Die”; and in this new sneak peek of the ep, he teaches her a deadly lesson.
“The Originals” Episode 2.04 – “Live and Let Die” (airs 10/27/14) A HIDEOUT IN THE WOODS — Knowing that it’s only a matter of time before Klaus (Joseph Morgan) comes after them, Davina (Danielle Campbell) takes Mikael (guest star Sebastian Roche) to her family cabin in the woods. When Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) gets a tip that Vincent (guest star Yusuf Gatewood) is recruiting young, unsuspecting teenagers in order to build a werewolf army, she enlists the help of Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) to rescue the group.
After Cami (Leah Pipes) inadvertently lets Klaus in on Davina’s whereabouts, she tags along in an attempt to truly understand the deeply rooted hatred he has for his parents. At his mother’s urging, Kaleb (guest star Daniel Sharman) seeks out Davina in order to locate the missing white oak stake and is caught off guard when he has a dangerous encounter at the cabin.
Lastly, Josh (guest star Steven Kruger), who continues to struggle with his vampire identity, opens up to an unexpected ally. Jeffrey Hunt directed the episode written by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson.
Looking forward to tonight’s Episode 6.04 of “The Vampire Diaries,” entitled “Black Hole Sun”? You East Coasters have just a few hours left while those of us here on the other side of the country have a bit more time to kill. So how about checking out this new clip and a preview of the ep with executive producers Julie Plec and Caroline Dries?
Maybe tonight we’ll all find out what really happened on May 10, 1994!
“The Vampire Diaries” Episode 6.04 – “Black Hole Sun” (10/23/14) FLASHBACKS TO A TUMULTUOUS TIME IN DAMON’S LIFE — When Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Bonnie (Kat Graham) realize that uncovering a time in Damon’s past may provide clues to finding their way home, Damon is forced to relive one of the worst days of his life.
After an awkward run-in with Jo (guest star Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) at the hospital, Alaric (Matt Davis) steps in to help Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) get his life together and cope with the loss of Bonnie. Elsewhere, Stefan (Paul Wesley) attempts to show Elena (Nina Dobrev) what it’s like to start over and create a new identity, while an unsuspecting Matt (Zach Roerig) finds himself in a disturbing situation when Tripp (guest star Colin Ferguson) lets him in on a dark secret.
Lastly, Stefan, who is desperate to regain some normalcy in his life, is stunned when an unexpected visitor shows up. Michael Malarkey also stars. Kellie Cyrus directed the episode written by Melinda Hsu Taylor and Neil Reynolds.
If you’re a fan of the V/H/S anthology franchise, you’re in luck! Right now we have a new red band clip for the third film in the trilogy as well as an infographic detailing the body count of the first two flicks. Dig ‘em!
V/H/S: Viral (review) features segments from directors Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial), Marcel Sarmiento (ABCs of Death segment “D is for Dogfight”), Gregg Bishop (The Other Side, Dance of the Dead, The Birds of Anger), Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (Resolution, Spring, Wrecked), along with Todd Lincoln (The Apparition).
Gary Binkow and Brad Miska produced for Collective Digital Studio and Bloody Disgusting, marking their third collaboration with Magnet on the V/H/S films.
Synopsis A police chase after a deranged ice cream truck has captivated the attention of the greater Los Angeles area. Dozens of fame—obsessed teens flock to the streets with their video cameras and camera phones, hell—bent on capturing the next viral video. But there is something far more sinister occurring in the streets of L.A. than a simple police chase. A resounding effect is created onto all those obsessed with capturing salacious footage for no other purpose than to amuse or titillate. Soon the discovery becomes that they themselves are the stars of the next video, one where they face their own death.
Destroyer is an oddity among slashers in that I know a lot of people who have never watched it but have seen the memorable VHS artwork of massively jacked-up NFL star Lyle Alzado hoisting a jackhammer like a machine gun. Never before on DVD, the 1988 prison-slasher flick Destroyer will bypass that format and go directly to Blu-ray thanks to Scream Factory.
Synopsis Eighteen months after mass murderer Ivan Moser’s electric chair execution led to a prison riot that shut down the facility, filmmakers converge on the now abandoned jail to film a women-in-prison exploitation flick, only to find out the brutal killer is more charged than ever and ready to deal death by a variety of horrific means, including jackhammer impalement.
The late Lyle Alzado plays the undead killer with shades of Shocker and The Horror Show. Eighties scream queen Deborah Foreman (April Fool’s Day, Waxworks) and Anthony “Psycho” Perkins co-star in this gore-soaked slasher from the Eighties.
In a strange twist, Destroyer will not be flying solo onto Blu in the summer of 2015; it will be paired with Scarecrows, a previously announced Scream Factory title also from 1988. No further details at this time.
Scream Factory promises more surprises before the month of “Shocktober” is up. Stay tuned.
***fingers crossed*** The Vindicator ***fingers crossed***
The film arrives in US theaters January 2, 2015, courtesy of Relativity. It will also be released by eOne in the UK on February 13, 2015.
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death stars Phoebe Fox in her first leading role in a feature film. Fox is joined by Jeremy Irvine (War Horse, Great Expectations, The Railway Man), the award-winning Helen McCrory (Skyfall, Hugo, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows), and rising star Oaklee Pendergast (The Impossible).
The film is directed by Tom Harper.
Hammer is looking to take the franchise route with The Woman in Black, starting with this one, which is set 40 years after the events of the original film.
Synopsis England, 1941. With London in the midst of the blitz, two teachers evacuate a group of schoolchildren to the abandoned Eel Marsh House. Seeking safety from the bombs in the remote coastal location, the group instead find themselves facing an evil far more frightening when their arrival awakens the Woman in Black.
Learn more about The Woman in Black: Angel of Death on Facebookand Twitter(hashtag #SheNeverLeft).
Some supposed details have surfaced regarding Universal’s upcoming reboot of The Mummy, which is being directed by Alex Kurtzman. According to Superhero Movie Newsthe film’s opening goes a little something like this…
The story follows Navy Seal Tyler Colt and his mission in the Iraqi desert to find a group of terrorists hiding out in a bunker. To his and his team’s surprise, the terrorists within the bunker turn out be nothing more than some grave robbers who have all magically died. Upon entering the bunker, Tyler and his team also succumb to some mystical forces out of their control. They soon realize the bunker they have infiltrated is actually a centuries-old tomb. Mayhem erupts as all the Navy Seal members start turning on one another and are captivated by the forces within the tomb. Tyler is the only one to make it all the way deep within the tomb alive to find a black iron sarcophagus. It’s marked with Egyptian symbols like the Ankh and Eye of Horus. Here Tyler is entranced by the forces to open it up and release what is inside. But after placing his hand onto the sarcophagus, he is immediately stabbed in the palm with a star-shaped symbol. From then on his mind is cursed with visions of Ashurbanipal, King of Assyria… The Mummy.
The site goes on to report that other characters in the movie include archeologist Jenny Halsey, shady billionaire Lorenzo Montanari, and Malik leader of the Temple Brothers.
No word on whether or not any of this is true… but there you have it.
I’ve said it a 1,000 times. No good can ever come from poking around the woods. No one ever listens though, and I thank the video gods for that because there’s nothing finer, and sometimes funnier, than watching the repercussions dealt to those who stick their noses where they don’t belong. Take this clip from Exists (review) for example.
Exists will be arriving on various VOD platforms and in limited theaters on October 24th.
In Bigfoot’s bold return to the big screen, five friends on a camping weekend in the remote woods of East Texas struggle to survive against a legendary predator that is stronger, smarter, and more terrifying than anything they would have ever believed exists.
The film stars Chris Osborn, Dora Madison Burge, Roger Edwards, Samuel Davis, Denise Williamson, and Brian Steele and is produced by Jane Fleming, Mark Ordesky, Robin Cowie, and J. Andrew Jenkins. Exists, written by Jamie Nash, is executive produced by George Waud, D. Todd Shepherd, Gregg Hale, and Reed Frerichs, and the Sasquatch creature was designed by Spectral Motion.
Synopsis For five friends, it was a chance for a summer getaway— a weekend of camping in the Texas Big Thicket. But visions of a carefree vacation are shattered with an accident on a dark and desolate country road. In the wake of the accident, a bloodcurdling force of nature is unleashed—something not exactly human, but not completely animal— an urban legend come to terrifying life…and seeking murderous revenge.
Starring Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Bianca A. Santos, Douglas Smith, Shelley Hennig
Directed by Stiles White
Distributed by Universal
Utter the words “horror” and “PG-13” in the same sentence around certain genre fans, and you’ll likely witness a level of teeth-gnashing and unbridled rage that’ll leave you either shuddering with fear or shaking your head in disbelief.
To be honest, this reviewer has never had much of an issue with lighter horror fare so long as its intent to scare is genuine. I’m thinking of movies like The Ring, Insidious, The Others, or 1408 – films which didn’t need to trade in extreme violence, bloodshed, nudity, or profanity to effectively elicit a series of genuine chills from their audiences. So long as a scary movie attempts to, y’know, actually be scary, I couldn’t care less what its rating winds up being.
Of course, there are also movies bearing that lower rating which have absolutely nothing going for them in terms of storytelling or craft – movies which shoot for a PG-13 and a more lucrative box office take without any regard to what should be their intended fanbase. Make a bad film, then remove all of the more exploitative elements that can at least make a bad film fun, and then what are you left with?
…a movie that would look a hell of a lot like Ouija, I should imagine.
Poised to take the top spot at the box office this weekend in the absence of any other Halloween-friendly horror flicks (oh, Saw and Paranormal Activity – why have you forsaken fans this season?*), Ouija is a solid ninety minutes of “Who gives a shit?!” – a movie so bereft of an interesting plot or relatable characters that this writer CHALLENGES any masochistic viewers out there willing to take this flick in to ignore their watches for what feels like an interminable running time.
Ouija stars Olivia Cooke (so great as Emma in “Bates Motel”) as Laine, our would-be Final Girl who opens the film having just lost her best friend Debbie (Hennig) to suicide. While attempting to move on from this tragedy, Laine refuses to let Debbie go without saying goodbye – enlisting fellow friends to take a spin with the very Ouija board Debbie had mentioned using the night of her death in order to contact her one last time so that everyone can say their proper farewells. Said friends (I don’t remember their names and neither will you) gather ‘round a table, move the Ouija’s planchette about the board a bit, and wind up awakening an entity which proceeds to haunt their every move before taking them out in the lamest possible ways, all while Laine attempts to figure out the nature of the board’s evil and how to possibly stop it before it claims her own life.
Apologies if that paragraph made the movie seem even remotely interesting. While Cooke does her damnedest to make for an engaging lead (and indeed, the entire cast is perfectly solid – if saddled with terrible writing), the movie never manages to take flight. By minute forty of this ninety-minute flick, we’ve barely gotten past our heroes’ first communal whack at the Ouija board. The following quarter-hour has our mostly yet unseen villain terrorizing the leads by taunting them with the phrase “Hi Friend”- its signature greeting. I’m entirely serious – a decent chunk of the damn movie has each character, one by one, being assaulted with “Hi Friend” (written with chalk, in the condensation of a car window, carved into a desktop, yadda yadda…).
Things eventually kinda-sorta kick into gear when Lin “Exposition” Shaye pops in to grab a paycheck and explain the film’s backstory in one big, lazy info-dump – sending Laine and her remaining Scoobies into harm’s way in order to battle and destroy the film’s Big Bad, leading to a twist ending that’s as head-slappingly lame as it is incredibly obvious.
It’s not all bad, though. As mentioned, Cooke tries her best to overcome the material, and the film is handsomely shot. And… well… okay, I guess it’s mostly all bad. But more so than bad – the film is just damned dull. I’d forgive it if there was any attempt made to entertain its audience, but yikes – every choice made is safe, every scare telegraphed, every plot point hammered over the audience’s head. If I told you that the writers responsible for this flick also inflicted upon us the utter borefests Boogeyman and The Possession, would you be at all surprised? Would you be even less surprised to find the Platinum Dunes fellas listed among Ouija’s producers?
Again – the film isn’t bad because it’s PG-13. It’s not even bad because it’s based on a friggin’ Hasbro board game. It’s bad because it’s poorly written, lazily directed, and features not one moment that rises above the level of “entirely uninvolving.” I weep for all of the kids out there who are growing up with films like Ouija haunting the multiplexes. At least there are plenty of great films awaiting them on disc and various streaming services. It’s to those youngsters, and to you readers, that I’m obligated to say – skip Ouija. Skip it. It deserves neither your precious time nor your hard-earned money. If you want to celebrate the upcoming holiday with an appropriate movie, find one that bothers to give a damn and watch it instead.
Board game? More like Bored Game.
*Yes, yes – I know. The original Saw is getting widely re-released back into theatres next weekend. I just miss seeing new installments of venerable horror franchises during the Halloween season.