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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.

Chris Carter Talks New X-Files Series

Posted by Steve Barton on March 27, 2015

With news of “The X-Files” returning as a six-episode event series, it was only a matter of time until creator Chris Carter started filling in the blanks for excited fans. Recently fansite X-Files News caught up with Carter, who dropped the following on eager fans.

I have ideas for everyone,” he explains at the mention of the possibility of having Mitch Pileggi, Annabeth Gish, and Robert Patrick reprise their iconic roles. “Their availability is subject to their regular paying jobs. Of course, I’d like to bring everyone possible back, but it’s who’s going to fit into the story and who’s available. I don’t want to reveal all my tricks, but I can tell you there will be some obvious choices, and there will be some surprises.

When queried about the writers and producers that could join his team, Carter confirms that Glen Morgan will be coming back in a producorial position. “We’ve lured Darin Morgan and Jim Wong; we’re very excited about that, and we’re working on the rest.

Click on the above link for more.

“The X-Files” originally premiered in September 1993. Over the course of its nine-season run, the influential series went from breakout sci-fi favorite to massive global hit and became one of the most successful television dramas of all time. The show, which earned 16 Emmy Awards, five Golden Globes, and a Peabody Award, follows FBI special agents Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Mulder (David Duchovny) as they investigate unexplained cases – “X-Files” – for which the only answers involve paranormal phenomena.

Produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Ten Thirteen Productions, “The X-Files” is created and executive-produced by Chris Carter.

The X-Files

x-files

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Fox Catches The Leviathan

Posted by Steve Barton on March 27, 2015

We first told you about Ruairi Robinson’s new monster flick The Leviathan a few days ago, and now Variety is reporting that Twentieth Century Fox has picked up the sci-fi spec with Simon Kinberg on board to produce and Neill Blomkamp exec producing.

The idea comes from the Irish filmmaker, who is also attached to direct, with Fight Club screenwriter Jim Uhls penning the script. Aditya Sood is joining Kinberg and Robinson as producers.

In the film, mankind has colonized many worlds in a time when travel faster than the speed of light has been made possible by the harvesting of exotic matter from the eggs of the largest species mankind has ever seen. The catch? Those who take part in the hunt for the matter are mostly involuntary labor.

Leviathan

Leviathan

Leviathan

Leviathan

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Stephen Dorff Gets Range on Leatherface

Posted by Steve Barton on March 27, 2015

More casting news has come in for the next chapter in the Texas Chainsaw franchise, Leatherface, as Bloody Disgusting is reporting that Stephen Dorff is in talks to play Texas Ranger Hal Hartman in the prequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

Dorff’s character is described as a lean, mean Texas Ranger who has a vendetta against the teen boy who grows up to become Leatherface.

If signed, he’ll join the previously announced Angela Bettis as Mother Sawyer along with both Sam Strike and Jay Bloor, who are two potential Leatherfaces.

Stephen Dorff

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre prequel is presented as a mystery of sorts about three teenage psychopaths, one of whom grows up to be Leatherface. Bloor will play Ike, a budding young maniac who, like Strike’s character, also grows up to potentially wield the iconic chainsaw. It’s unclear if there will be multiple actors playing Leatherface or whether we will see the character at different stages of his life in this film.

As reported earlier, Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, the French filmmakers behind cult hit Inside, are directing the flick, which was written by up-and-coming genre scribe Seth M. Sherwood (2014 Blood List winner).

Millennium Films, who was behind the 2013 Texas Chainsaw 3D, is once again producing with Christa Campbell, Lati Grobman, and Carl Mazzacone for Lionsgate.

Synopsis:
In this prequel to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, a young nurse is kidnapped by a group of violent teens who escape from a mental hospital and take her on a road trip from hell. Pursued by an equally deranged lawman out for revenge, one of these teens is destined for tragedy and horrors that will destroy his mind, molding him into the monster we now call Leatherface.

Leatherface

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IDW Unleashing Godzilla in Hell this July

Posted by Debi Moore on March 27, 2015

In over six decades of battles and triumphs, Godzilla has never faced a challenge as great as what’s coming his way this summer, when he goes to Hell courtesy of IDW Publishing.

In Godzilla in Hell, a five-issue miniseries launching in July, Godzilla will storm through the gates of Hell itself, proving that the towering behemoth is King of the Monsters both above and below!

With no warning and no sign of salvation, Godzilla is plummeted to the deepest, darkest bowels of the infernal kingdom. The mystery of what led to Godzilla’s damnation, and what he will face, will take readers on a dark and twisted journey unlike any Godzilla story before.

A rotating creative team will each take Godzilla through a new and more dangerous layer of Hell, beginning with none other than writer and artist James Stokoe, who is returning to the character for the first time since his haunting stunner of a miniseries Godzilla: The Half Century War.

“Drawing Godzilla must be my comfort food because it feels really great to come back and work on pages with IDW again,” said Stokoe, writer and artist on Issue 1. “Also, the list of amazing creators they’ve tapped for this series beyond my issue feels equally great as a fan, especially with the theme everyone gets to play with. You can’t get much bigger than Godzilla versus Hell!“

Successive issues in this five-part series will feature talents familiar to the Godzilla franchise, including the multi-talented writer/artists Bob Eggleton and Dave Wachter; Wachter most recently wrapped up the apocalyptic take on Godzilla in Godzilla: Cataclysm.

New to the world of Godzilla will be writers Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas, together on Issue #3, and Brandon Seifert, tackling Issue #4; artists will be announced for these issues at a later time.

“I’m very proud with the level of quality we’ve brought to all of our Godzilla mini-series,” said editor Bobby Curnow. “Godzilla in Hell will prove no exception. It’s been incredibly fun seeing the creator’s imagination stretch to fully utilize this otherworldly premise.”

This explosive new series will join a number of other major debuts in July as part of the “Five Featured Firsts” program, which launches a brand new title each and every week in July. Additionally, the debut issue will feature an EC Comics homage variant cover by Godzilla: Rulers of Earth artist Jeff Zornow as part of “EC Cover Month.”

godzillainhell

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The Walking Dead Companion Series Gets an Official Title

Posted by Debi Moore on March 27, 2015

We’ve been wondering for weeks what the official title of “The Walking Dead’s” companion show is going to be, and now, thanks to comic creator Robert Kirkman on Twitter, we know! *Drumroll please*

As has been hinted at for some time now, the spinoff is going to be known as “Fear The Walking Dead.”

Don’t forget that we’ll be getting our first look at “Fear The Walking Dead” this Sunday, March 29th, during “Talking Dead” following the season finale of “The Walking Dead.”  As always “Talking Dead” will air immediately after “The Walking Dead,” and the night’s guests will include showrunner Scott Gimple, actors Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus, and a “mystery” guest.

Related Story:  Get a Sneak Peek of The Walking Dead Season Finale Episode 5.16 – Conquer

The new series will be set in Los Angeles and focuses on new characters and storylines. The show’s first season will consist of six one-hour episodes and premiere on AMC in late summer. The show’s second season will air in 2016.

Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero, and David Alpert from “The Walking Dead” are executive producers of the new series, which, like the original, is being produced by AMC Studios. Dave Erickson (“Marco Polo,” “Sons of Anarchy”), who co-created and co-wrote the pilot with Kirkman, is an executive producer and showrunner.

The series will star Cliff Curtis (“Missing,” “Gang Related”), Kim Dickens (Gone Girl, “Sons of Anarchy”), Frank Dillane (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), and Alycia Debnam Carey (Into the Storm).

Walking Dead Companion

Kim Dickens as Miranda and Cliff Curtis as Sean

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First Details on Leomark Studios’ Recalculating Euphoria

Posted by Debi Moore on March 27, 2015

Leomark Studios has announced plans to produce Recalculating Euphoria, a ScreamCraft 2014 screenplay quarter-finalist. The psychological thriller takes place on a road trip to Hollywood, where two young filmmakers find themselves trapped in a nightmare straight out of one of their own horror scripts.

Author, playwright, and award-winning filmmaker Don Bapst (pictured below) penned the screenplay.

Recalculating Euphoria starts as a simple road trip, morphs into a horror story, and ends up taking you down the rabbit hole,” says producer Erik Lundmark. “It’s the kind of movie people will talk about and film students will study for years to come.

According to director Richard Marks (Dark Mondays, Code Noir), “RE won’t rely on special effects. The characters’ deepest fears create the monsters here. It’s a great actor’s piece.

Bapst’s novels include danger@liaisons.com and The Hanged Man, a mystery thriller exploring the secular origins of the tarot. Bapst’s English translation of Le Nécrophile was called a “masterpiece” by The Guardian. Born in Chicago, Bapst currently resides in Phoenix, where he teaches screenwriting. Recalculating Euphoria will be his first produced feature.

Leomark Studios is a boutique film production and distribution company with a catalog of 40+ titles. Leomark is co-producer and US distributor of the upcoming sci-fi feature Star Leaf, starring Russell Hodgkinson and Julian Gavilanes, both from Syfy’s “Z Nation,” as well as co-founder of MovieMaze Ltd., the company behind the popular MovieMaze™ Interactive Movie App for mobile devices. Leomark Studios is based in Los Angeles, CA.

DonBapst100K

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The Indie Video Game Report: Grey Goo

Posted by Ted Hentschke on March 27, 2015

The Indie Report is a series where I take the time to delve the crags and crevices of the indie game market to bring you the down low on the most promising/disastrous indie titles.

This is a bit of a stretch to call “indie,” because Grey Goo came out with a $50 price tag. Still, it is the studio’s first game and published by notorious peddlers of shit Petroglyph, and caught my eye with an interesting premise. A strategy game in the ilk of Starcraft, the game promised asymmetric gameplay across three different teams. Asymmetry isn’t a new concept in strategy, but Grey Goo goes beyond the pale by introducing a team that doesn’t build bases. The titular Grey Goo instead uses resources to spawn roaming “Mother Goo” that suck up resource nodes and splinter off units. The goo grows, with units being judged as parts of mass. I was eager to see if Petroglyph released a game that wasn’t crap for once, and emailed their company asking for a review copy.

3 weeks later, they finally got back to me. It was a rocky start, but I was still eager to see what the game had to offer. I’m glad I did, because Grey Goo has proven a worthy contender in the strategy game wars that will always be won by Starcraft. The game is fast and polished, and should prove entertaining to anyone who is looking for an alternative to Starcraft.

I don’t want to spend the whole review talking about Starcraft, but the comparison is the easiest way to describe the game. There are fewer units than in Starcraft, and bases are easier to build with fewer components. It is similarly easy to learn and hard to master, with a significant emphasis on micro. Units all serve a specific role effectively, with anti-air, artillery, tanks, infantry, anti-armor, and air support all being pretty self explanatory. There are a few interesting units per faction, like a Goo unit that can taunt nearby enemies and a Beta unit that can stealth. What is really cool are the upgrades. Each team can research one of three technologies in three different categories. You can only research one of each category per game, but they provide significant modifications to units. Researching the upgrade for the anti-air unit can allow it to attack ground units, while upgrading the stealth unit will give it a group cloak while stationary. Getting the correct upgrade at a crucial moment can game changing.

As for the diversity in teams, the Beta and Humans play similarly, while the Goo is a differnt beast. Beta build bases off of different sized “hubs”, with small providing 2 build points, medium 4, and large 6. What you have attached to a hub dictates what that hub can build. Small hubs are best suited for harvest nodes near resource points, while large can chain together a bunch of tech buildings to pump out high tier units. You can slap a bunch of large factories on a medium hub and pump out wave after wave of base unit, and it is an interesting give and take between production units and tech buildings.

The Humans play similarly, but have more robust networks out of their main hubs. The build networks of connectors that attach to buildings. Creating walls is a much bigger part of their play style, as their units can pass through their laser walls uninhibited. They have access to more interesting tactical buildings, such as a teleporter that can send clumps of units anywhere you have sight. Though similar to the Beta, their bases are more robust and with fewer expansions.

The Goo, on the other hand, are a different beast. As was previously mentioned, the Goo splinter off into units. As a result, there is a greater variety of tactics the Goo can implore, but in general their expansions are faster but harder to defend. Without any static defences, they rely heavily on a swarm of hit and run units to defend their various mothers. They are probably the most difficult faction to play, and it is difficult to gauge how they are doing in a match. The Goo can also move over impassable terrain, adding an extra element of strategy to their unending horde.

Each team has access to a super unit, which take minutes to build and thousands of resources. The Goo builds a primordial goo pile that wrecks buildings with artillery aoe damage. The humans build a deadly but vulnerable walker, that can decimate armies with a line damage laser. The Beta have the most versatile super unit, a flying ship that allows units to mount inside it for different configurations of damage. Super units have been a treat for me since Dawn of War, and it is always satisfying to build one of these unwieldy game changers.

The in game graphics are a bit of a letdown. Units lack the polish we have come to expect, but on a macro scale it all looks good. Factories put together the units piece by piece, and when the goo splits off into its parts it forms and shapes fluidly. On the other hand, the cutscenes are incredibly beautiful, with CGI for the Beta race that seems to defy the uncanny valley. It is a pleasure to play the campaign just to see the briefing screens, which is something I thought I would never say.

All said and done, Grey Goo will be a title that either appeals to you or doesn’t, which is a statement that requires a bit of explanation. For some backstory, I had played 82 hours of Total War: Attila 7 days after the game came out. I played easily 400 hours of Rome 2, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 hours of Dawn of War 2. I fucking love tactical strategy games, but I put maybe 5 hours into Starcraft 2. The twitch based and micro heavy strategy games have never appealed to me, so I am not exactly the most qualified person to comment on Grey Goo. I will never be good at the game, and what I feel about the balance will very unlikely be in line with the meta.

That all being said, I really enjoyed Grey Goo. It seems it will forever be doomed to be an odd little blip on the map that is the gaping maw of Starcraft’s industry dominance, but it still entertained someone who doesn’t normally like these games. It is standard micro strategy, but with some unique enough twists to compel me to keep playing.

Grey Goo

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Check Out Chimeres Creator Olivier Beguin’s Short Employee of the Month Right Now!

Posted by Scott Hallam on March 27, 2015

Swiss filmmaker Olivier Beguin burst on the scene in 2013 with his award-winning feature film debut, Chimeres. Previously Beguin created a lighthearted horror/comedy short entitled Employee of the Month (Employe Du Mois) that made the festival rounds, and now we’ve got it right here for you!

Employee of the Month features Yannick Rosset, Catriona MacColl (veteran of Lucio Fulci films), and Yannick Merlin, all of whom collaborated with Beguin in Chimeres. Also, Caroline Althaus, Frederic Landenberg, Laurent Lecoultre, Christiane Margraitner, Manu Moser, and Matthieu Beguelin are featured.

MacColl leads the way as an employment agency representative trying to find the right job for some very unique clients… like a mummy, a zombie, and a vampire, among others. Chimeres fans may recognize the vamp (named Vlad Pitt). Ya gotta love it!

So don’t let us hold you up. If you’ve got 13 minutes, we’ve got a fun film for you. Check out Employee of the Month!

Employee of the Month

Employee of the Month

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Slender: The Arrival (Video Game)

Posted by Ted Hentschke on March 27, 2015

Slender: The ArrivalAvailable for PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC

Rated M for Mature

Developed by Blue Isle Studios


It is really popular and easy to bash Slenderman these days. I can’t really blame anyone that does, since even before teenagers started killing people in his name, he was kind of silly. The internet has this habit of ruining good ideas with over complication, and Slenderman is not free from these insidious tendrils. What started as a simple photoshop of a tall man in the background of a playground for a SomethingAwful thread spawned the mythos of some kind of eater of children with ethereal tentacles coming from somewhere behind him.

Anytime your monster eats specifically children, shit starts silly, but it was creepy enough that it spawned the web video series “The Marble Hornets.” The premise was simple enough; Jay, the protagonist and main narrator through the series, receives a number of tapes from his high school friend Alex of a movie they shot but never edited together. The name of the YouTube channel is eponymous with the film, “The Marble Hornets,” so other than the uncanny found footage and text on screen presentation, nothing is immediately sinister. Soon, Jay is disturbed by the presence of a mysterious tall figure in the background of some of the shots. It is revealed that not all of the tapes are of the shooting of the movie, but some are of Alex as he attempts to document something stalking him.

Soon, the same thing begins stalking Jay, and the hunt is on to find out what exactly is going on. Camera distortions ensue, strange drawings are found, mysteries are afoot, and shits get retarded. It all goes downhill when they introduce an alternate channel thats full of illuminati code with distorted sound and flashing images and a strange masked man “hacks the channel” to upload videos. It jumps the megalodon straight into the unwatchable valley. To date they have somewhere around 70 videos, and I have watched up to about 50, and there are a few great ones scattered here and there. Still, even at its best, it’s just a guy walking through the woods with a camera and every once in a while someone going “boo,” and at its worst it’s poorly acted melodrama with a nonsense story straight out of a fanfiction. For what is literally a fanfiction, it isn’t terrible, and is surprisingly good if you look at it from that perspective, but it is hardly recommendable to a general audience.

The reason I bring this particular channel up instead of the other fan movies or stories is not only because it is the most popular, but it is also an official partner of Slender: The Arrival. The game itself is based on the free unity game Slender: The Eight Pages, and thus the perfect storm of terrible shit that teenagers on the internet love collided, creating a sharknado of mediocrity known as Slender: The Arrival. Ripped apart by a larger audience for the repetitive gameplay and overall juvenile stupidness, it was not terribly well received. But internet shit be a crafty beast, and she not be so easily taken down with demons like the Markiplier and the Pewdiepie breathin’ life into the infernal creature. Similar to 5 Nights at Freddy’s but without the creative twist, this is a game that exists to be fake scared of on Youtube.

So if the previous four paragraphs of derision didn’t tip you off, I do not like the Slenderman cannon. It works as a creepy image or concept, but has been perpetually blundered by an inept internet fanbase. I absolutely hated Slender: The Eight Pages, and that was back when it was free. It has no story, no real gameplay, and was just an excuse to have something that only moved when you weren’t looking at it creep up on you and make your ears bleed. That is fucking horror 101, so universal that Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon made fun of it. Things have been only moving when you don’t look at them in video games since the Boos in Mario, and screaming audio distortion is a cheap way to startle someone. I get that when I am startled, I am technically frightened, but I also tell women I love them when I fuck them and it is just a reaction, not the real thing.

When the original came out, Mr. Dark reviewed the game better than I could, and expressed his grievances in only the way that a fellow veteran enraged nerd could. Read his for the take on the original, since I’m mostly going to talk about how this game expanded on the original.

So the first thing you might notice is that I said that this game is available on the new gen systems and PC, which is wrong if you consider the PS3 and XBox 360 releases. However, this is not those. This is a re-release of the extended Steam version, with new graphics and levels. Its a pretty solid move, since the game already just aped off of the basic concepts of what made horror scary, why not just follow in the footsteps of what all video games are doing now and re-release?

I’m being a bit harsh, since at least this added content. Now, you get to walk through 8 locations while looking for items instead of 5, with a secret level that actually kind of doesn’t blow. It still doesn’t go past the basic concept of “find some shit with a flashlight and spooky things happen,” but lead is still lead and not gold, so it will be some time and magic before shitty meme games become good.

It looks fine I guess, but I’ve never been a terribly good judge of how things look. I can tell when something is gorgeous, sure, but if you were to give me a copy of Half-Life 2 with extended draw distance and dynamic shadows and one without, it would still look to me like a cool shooter whose graphical style complimented the gameplay. Slender: The Arrival goes for a dark and scary woods where a monster is chasing you, and it does it just fine. I’m positive there is some visuals nut out there who can point out every change and shortcoming, but that is not me.

The narrative is a bit more fleshed out in the new levels, adding new endings and a secret level that actually does something interesting. When you access the secret level, its the only thing that you can play. As you progress through the level, you become increasingly trapped, and once so the camera becomes locked. Attempting to access any of the other menus or modes leads right back to this trapped screen. I’m trying to keep free of spoilers, so pardon my lack of exposition, but it is a remarkably interesting and smart move for a game that if were food I would be afraid to feed to my goldfish.

It’s just so hard for me to give a fuck about this game. I am not the target audience. Slenderman is the Johnny the Homicidal Maniac or Invader Zim! of our generation: regardless of objective merit, generally only enjoyed and recommended by “misunderstood alt” teens who haven’t developed enough of a personality yet to define themselves outside of a medium. At the point where weird antisocial youths are killing people for your social media device, you have gone over the rails into teen bullshit.

I am going to refer to the wisdom of my elders heres. Mr. Dark gave the game a 1, with one of his criticisms being that the game looked ugly. The game looks a bit better, so that fixes some of his problems, but doesn’t fix his fundamental issues with the game. The expanded story and secret level makes the game slightly more interesting, so that also raises it a bit in his book. It is still fundamentally the same shit game, so nothing has changed there. I’m not going to say to “avoid this game aggressively,” since there must be teenages out there in need of an excuse to murder people. If you are my family, do not buy this game, since I actually really enjoy Thanksgiving. Oh, and if you are internet scum, please do buy this game. Children will flock to you in droves to give you likes subscribes, and your traffic numbers will nicely round out my castration bucket list.

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H.P. Lovecraft’s Work Returns to Life in Upcoming Graphic Novel Call of Cthulhu

Posted by Scott Hallam on March 27, 2015

Swiss comic book artist Michael Zigerlig has a grand plan for an upcoming graphic novel series with some outstanding collaborators. The series, entitled H.P. Lovecraft’s Library of Horror is currently hard at work on its first full-color title, Call of Cthulhu.

Zigerlig’s creative group includes H.R. Giger’s wife Carmen Giger-Scheiffele, Batman artist Kelley Jones, filmmaker Brian Yuzna and noted Lovecraft artist Nick Gucker. The goal is to get the ball rolling with Call of Cthulhu and continue on, creating a library of Lovercraft stories.

To help begin the process, Zigerlig has started a Call of Cthulhu graphic novel Indiegogo campaign to raise some of the funds needed to create the incredible book he and his collaborators have envisioned. Contributors to the cause can choose from amazing perks like posters, art canvases, phone cases, mugs, backpacks, skateboards, custom illustrations, signed limited prints and much more.

To keep up with the latest info, visit the official Call of Cthulhu graphic novel facebook page and the official Michael Zigerlig website.

Call of Cthulhu

Call of Cthulhu

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