Lots of great new projects are coming our way in 2014, and not just the bigger budget films on our Most Wanted list. The independent spirit is alive and well within the modern horror scene, as evidenced in the list of films that follows.
Take a look at some of the more interesting-looking projects to come out of the dark underbelly of independent film-making, and let’s show these creative innovators some support!
First up we have a very-hyped new found-footage film called Afflicted.
After cleaning up at Fantastic Fest 2013 with awards for Best Picture (Horror), Best Screenplay (Horror), Best Director (Horror) and receiving awards of recognition from the Toronto International Film Festival and the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival, we will finally get to see what all the fuss is about!
The official synopsis says : This terrifying horror thriller follows two best friends who set out on the trip of a lifetime around the world. Their journey, documented every step of the way, soon takes a dark and unexpected turn after an encounter with a beautiful woman in Paris leaves one of them mysteriously afflicted.
This one hits both theaters and On Demand April 4th, so the wait is almost over.
Check out the interesting trailer below and stay tuned to the official Facebook page for Afflicted for more news and updates!
Next up is Stage Fright, described as “Scream” meets “Glee” in an R-rated dark comedy musical. Written and directed byJerome Sable after a string of award-winning horror short films, his debut feature looks to be a fun homage to 80s slashers. And it stars Meat Loaf!
The official synopsis adds this :
Starry-eyed teenager Camilla Swanson wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a Broadway diva, but she’s stuck working in the kitchen of a snobby performing arts camp. Determined to change her destiny, she sneaks in to audition for the summer showcase and lands a lead role in the play, but just as rehearsals begin, blood starts to spill, and Camilla soon finds herself terrified by the horror of musical theatre.
This one hits On Demand on April 3rd, and theaters May 9th.
Stay up to date on the official Facebook page for Stage Fright here.
Check out the red-band trailer below!
And finally, we have a first look at the upcoming feature film Mile Marker 7.
Starring Wil Daniels, Eric Roberts and Jamie Bernadette, the film was written and directed by first-time filmmakers Anthony Scarpulla and Anthony Torrez.
The official synopsis tells us : David, an independent oil contractor, on the brink of semi-retirement, is proposed by his friend, and former business partner, Barry, with the opportunity of a lifetime. Everything is going just as they wished for, but what they don’t realize is, while they are hunting oil, someone, or something is hunting them.
No artwork or release date is available yet, but there is a shiny new trailer embedded below, and a Facebook page, where you can stay up-to-date on the status of the film!
The news is spreading like a fungus today that Sam Raimi will be producing a live-action film based on last summer’s amazing Playstation 3 game, The Last Of Us!
According to various sources, Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckmann will write the screenplay and co-produce with Naughty Dog co-presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra, as well as game director Bruce Straley and Raimi.
According to Wells, “Our partnership with Sam Raimi, Ghost House Pictures, and Screen Gems to develop a film based on ‘The Last of Us’ universe is a perfect fit. Since our game released last June, we’ve talked with many companies about making a film, but we couldn’t have found better partners who share our creative vision and high standards. We look forward to collaborating with Sam, his team, and Screen Gems, to make a movie that will thrill fans of ‘The Last of Us’ and general audiences worldwide.”
The game was pretty incredible, and memorably cinematic.
Set 20 years after a pandemic outbreak that turned people into violent fungal monsters, the game played out like a great film. The relationship that develops between Joel (a hardened older man) and Ellie (a young girl who has never known the world we know) is as real and believable as it gets. Yes, the game is filled with panic-inducing combat and terrifying monsters, but the quieter moments in the game were what worked the best.
A scene that sticks out in my memory is when Ellie sees a pack of wild giraffes for the first time, roaming through the wasteland, and follows them in awe,
This is a project with huge potential to be awesome, and it is great that Raimi is the one bringing it to us, along with the original creators!
However, it seems to me that although a big screen version could possibly be great, it seems like it would be a bit of a step backwards in technology. Gaming, when done well, is the evolution of film. The newest gaming technology is meant to immerse the viewer/participant directly into the fantasy. I mean, the game itself works because you believe in the characters and the situations you are placed directly into.
Joel and Ellie’s forced companionship evolves over hours of gameplay into a genuine friendship, and I wonder if there is a way to make this even a fraction as compelling, when the audience is changed from player to viewer.
It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out.
Anyone else a fan of the game? What do you guys think?
Today we get the first look at the long-awaited sequel to Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s amazing 2005 film Sin City!
The first film followed closely to one of my favorite graphic novels, with such a unique style and mixing elements of noir, adventure, and horror in one classic package!
This sequel definitely has huge shoes to fill.
Check out the first trailer (and amazing cast list) below and look for the film in theaters this August!
By 1981, shortly after the birth of the slasher genre, it was already ripe for parody.
In came Student Bodies, to fill that void.
Filmed quickly during the writers strike at the time, producer/director Michael Ritchie was forced to use the notorious pseudonym Allen Smithee. The uncredited writing team of Mickey Rose and Jerry Belson are actually successful at making the movie pretty damn funny, mostly thanks to some great one-liners and oddball ideas.
Filled with rapid fire gags and pot-shots at the obvious tropes of the genre, this entertaining flick gave us the very first “horror comedy”!
The story follows the footsteps of a killer known as “The Breather”, shown mostly in Halloween-style first person view along with the sounds of his ridiculously heavy breathing.
The killer is stalking the students of Lamab High School, ridding them of the harlots and bimbos, and no one seems to know who he is.
We are introduced to Toby, the obvious Jamie Lee Curtis final girl stand-in, and her slutty friends. The killer makes ominous phone calls to the victims, hissing his threats through a rubber chicken, you know, to disguise his voice. The film makers even give us an on-screen body count, and various hints at who the suspects may be.
Everyone is a suspect, from the principal to the nurses to the horsehead-obsessed woodshop teacher, and especially the goofy double-jointed janitor.
The Breather even breaks the fourth wall at one point, speaking directly to us, the audience, complete with drum rolls : Hello, it’s me, The Breather. You’re probably wondering who I am. Who could I be? Could I be the innocent looking Toby? Would you trust a girl who looked like Prince Valiant in a plum sweater? Maybe I’m Dr. Sigmund; a man who was once arrested for corrupting the morals of a hooker. Then there’s Malvert; with an I.Q. of a handball and the personality of a parking meter: violated! Could I be the principal Mr. Peters; a man who keeps cheese in his underwear to attract mice? Let’s not forget Ms. Leclair; English teacher by day and English teacher by night. Ah, Miss Mumsley; She’s eats 12 prunes a day and nothing happens. Nurse Krud and Ms. Van Dyke; what’s in a name? Everything! And then there Dumpkin; a man who sleeps with nuts in between horsehead bookends.
The gags are all over the place, and they stick more often than not.
Some very memorable lines and sound effects get some good laughs. This is goofball humor along the lines of other 80s comedies like Airplane and The Kentucky Fried Movie, with a horror theme.
The kills range from death by paperclip to chalkboard eraser, and all of the male victims are put in trash bags to suffocate.
The off-the-wall sense of humor drips from every scene.
Along with fart jokes and blatant references to then-current horror flicks like Halloween, Friday the 13th and Carrie, the writers even throw in some Laurel and Hardy inspired dialogue :
Toby: Who could have done these murders? Hardy: I don’t know. It could have been anybody. Toby: Well, it can’t be ANYbody. It’s gotta be somebody. Hardy: Of course it’s somebody, but that somebody could be anybody. Toby: Well, look, we didn’t do it, right? Hardy: Right. Toby: So you can’t say it could be anybody. WE’RE anybody. Hardy: True, but we’re also somebody.
The film was released to a disappointing reception in the theaters, but went on to gain cult status after multiple repeats on late night cable TV, since it featured no nudity or profanity and very little on-screen violence.
In fact, the hilarious scene below was shot and inserted into the film just to secure the R-rating for the theatrical run. Seriously.
It even ends on a series of trick endings, running the gamut of well-worn genre tropes, very insightful for the time.
All in all, Student Bodies is a fun and funny throwback to the 80s!
Check it out on Amazon Streaming.
You’ll never guess who the killer really is…
This month’s new releases are a mixed bag. Topping the list for me is the 1973 weirdo classic “The Visitor” on the 4th and Larry Fessenden’s “Beneath” on the 25th. The rest seem to be mostly on the cheesier side (not that there’s anything wrong with that…).
Bill Oberst Jr. looks great as always in “Children Of Sorrow” and “Contracted” was well worth a watch, in my opinion.
Posters and trailers for all of them are included, and as always, the title links conveniently lead directly to Amazon, if you decide to take the plunge on any of these films!
See you next month!
Follows the story of an astronaut crew on Mars on the verge of a major breakthrough, having collected rock specimens that reveal microscopic evidence of life. In their last hours on the planet, two astronauts go back to a cavernous valley on the surface of Mars to collect further evidence for their discovery, but a routine excavation turns deadly when one of them falls to his death and his body is taken as a host and re-animated by the very life form they sought to discover.
The story is set in the summer of 1984 and follows Heather Ross and her group of friends just after their graduation from college. We meet the gang on their way to one last weekend at a cabin in the woods where, unknown to Heather, her boyfriend plans to propose. They are treated to rumors of a wild bear that is supposedly killing hikers in the woods but do not head the warnings of the local townspeople. Love triangles bloom as the campers attempt to follow their own individual desires and the appearance of a strange Hunter in the woods complicates things further as people start to disappear… and die. Heather is forced to fight for her own survival and find out who is responsible for the deaths of her friends. Is it the jerk Adam? Her own boyfriend? The sultry Summer? The strange Hunter? Or someone (or something) else?
In this unforgettable assault on reality–fully restored and presented completely uncut theatrically for the first time ever in the U.S.–legendary Hollywood director/actor John Huston (The Maltese Falcon; Treasure of the Sierra Madre) stars as an intergalactic warrior who joins a cosmic Christ figure in battle against a demonic 8-year-old girl and her pet hawk, while the fate of the universe hangs in the balance. Multi-dimensional warfare, pre-adolescent profanity and brutal avian attacks combine to transport the viewer to a stat unlike anything they’ve experienced… somewhere between Hell, the darkest reaches of outer space, and Atlanta, GA. THE VISITOR fearlessly fuses elements of The Omen, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Birds, Rosemary’s Baby, The Fury, and even Star Wars, creating the most ambitious of all ’70s psychedelic mindwarps. Its baffling all-star cast includes Shelley Winters (Night of the Hunter), Glenn Ford (Superman), Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Franco Nero (Django) and Sam Peckinpah (director of The Wild Bunch).
Called “The Mount Everest of insane Italian 70s movies” by Mondo Digital, this one is definitely going in my must-see list!
Simon Leach is a very sick man. Thriving on despair, pain, and panic, he unites a group of broken and desperate teens and showers them with the love and affection they’re so desperate for. But Simon has a much darker plan for his followers. “Belongingness” can be a terrifying subject. When a young woman embeds herself in the cult looking for answers to her sister’s disappearance, she discovers their dark secret and an even darker secret within herself.
Tom and Lucy are trapped in a maze of country roads with only their vehicle for protection, terrorized by an unseen tormentor hell-bent on exploiting their worst fears – fear of the dark, fear of the unknown, fear of themselves.
“Dark House” is a thrilling and horrifying road trip, full of twists and brutal surprises; a suspenseful thriller about a young man and a chilling old house that has survived decades, awaiting the return of its prodigal son… a house that can escalate Nick’s gift to see death before it happens, but holds within its walls the origins of a dark family legacy so horrible it may have already reached out to Nick’s unborn child.
March 14 (On Demand) — Patrick : Evil Awakens After killing his mother and her lover some years before, Patrick is the comatose patient in room 15 of a remote, private psychiatric clinic run by the secretive Dr. Roget, who treats him as a guinea pig in his bizarre studies of life and death. When Kathy, a nurse who has recently separated from her boyfriend, begins working at the clinic, she is instructed to care for him. She is disturbed by Roget’s treatment of him and somehow feels that Patrick is trying to make a connection with her.
When Kathy realizes that the lifeless murderer can communicate, she is shocked but compelled to prove her theory. Patrick has psychokinetic powers which he uses to talk to Kathy by transferring his thoughts to a computer. As Patrick’s communication becomes stronger, strange and terrifying events begin to occur. Patrick has feelings for Kathy and his affection is about to manifest itself as a deadly, bloody obsession.
When gorgeous lesbian Samantha has a drunken one night stand with a strange man, she contracts what she thinks is a sexually-transmitted disease. But the truth is far more disturbing. As her horrific condition worsens, her friends begin to fear for her… and themselves. A gory body-horror film in the vein of David Cronenberg, Contracted provides truly gut-wrenching, visceral terror.
I watched this one On Demand a few months ago and gave it a B. See my full review here.
A couple’s son and daughter inexplicably reappear after being lost overnight on a desolate, cave-riddled mountainside. Becoming withdrawn and beginning to exhibit strange behavior, their parents quickly assume something sinister happened to them. But after hearing an ominous local legend, the concerned mother and father begin to realize that their children may have fallen prey to something inhuman and that this dark, unstoppable evil has now returned home with them.
“Fly the not-so-friendly skies in this frightening tale of survival at 37,000 feet! On a flight from London to Los Angeles, a wealthy architect (Roy Thinnes) and his wife (Jane Merrow) have rented out a jumbo jet’s entire cargo hold to transport a precious artifact — an altar from an ancient abbey. But they’re unaware of its deadly secret. Aboard for the ill-fated trip is William Shatner as a drunken, cynical ex-priest; Buddy Ebsen as an arrogant millionaire; and Chuck Connors as the heroic pilot. Not long after departure, crew and passengers alike face airborne jeopardy and supernatural horror as a demonic entity escapes from the altar, seeking to possess a hapless victim as well as seek revenge on those who would desecrate the sinister deity’s ancient ritual site. Fasten your seatbelts . it’s going to be a terrifying flight!”
Horror legend Tom Holland (Child’s Play, Fright Night) dares you to join him for nine nerve-shredding, totally Twisted Tales. Serving up a mind-bending assortment of the macabre, it’s an anthology fine-tuned to keep you on the edge of your seat. A new drug offers users a glimpse of the future… with beastly consequences. A murderous husband is stalked by his own cell phone. A jilted lover wreaks satanic vengeance. The nightmarish action then leads to worlds haunted by dark magic, demonic possession, vampires, witches and more in this seriously freaky festival of fear. Features favorite genre stars including Danielle Harris (Rob Zombie’s Halloween), William Forsythe (The Devil’s Rejects, Boardwalk Empire), Ray Wise (X-Men: First Class), Sarah Butler (I Spit on Your Grave), A.J. Bowen (Hatchet 2) and more!
When two young filmmakers select a crazed conspiracy theorist as the subject of their new movie, they have no idea the terrifying peril they will put themselves in. When the man disappears without a trace, the filmmakers begin an obsessive quest to uncover the truth that will lead them to an ancient and dangerous secret society. A meticulously researched thriller based on real conspiracy theories, THE CONSPIRACY blurs the line between fact and fiction, news and propaganda.
Variety is reporting that Rob Zombie’s next directorial effort will be an ambitious television series recounting the tragic tale of the victims of Charles Manson’s followers. The project is in the early stages of development for FOX, with cult novelist Brett Easton Ellis attached as the writer.
According to Zombie, ““I have been obsessed with this insane story since I was a kid, so obviously I jumped at the chance to be involved in this incredible project. After speaking with Bret, I immediately realized that we shared the same vision for this epic madness.”
It should be pretty obvious to anyone who has seen Zombie’s previous films that he has a good eye for that era and type of psychopath. The character of Otis Driftwood is Bill Moseley practically channeling Manson. He obviously has a soft spot for this type of story.
This could be a case of Zombie returning to the well to tell another story, and we all know this one by heart already.
The story of the Manson Family murders is probably very familiar to most horror fans, having been told in several books and films, most famously Helter Skelter (1976).
A weekly series limited to ten episodes or so could potentially turn out to be some amazing television, with Zombie bringing his stylish eye to take a closer look at the events surrounding the notorious case.
In my opinion, the key to this show’s potential success comes with the credibility of Mr. Ellis, who over the past three decades has written some of the most compelling and disturbing books in recent memory. Besides bringing us deep inside the mind of a completely nihilistic killer in American Psycho (1991), he was also responsible for cult classics Less Than Zero (1985) and The Informers (1994).
In other Ellis news, he recently announced that he has been working on a sequel to American Psycho!
Despite sharing similar preoccupations with oddball serial killers, these two men couldn’t come from more different worlds. I think that fact is exactly what makes this a potentially great idea for a collaboration, where these two creative forces can balance out each others’ weaknesses. Very much looking forward to seeing what comes from this series.
Patrick is a fashion photographer traveling to meet his sister Caroline at Eden Parish, the commune she’s been living at since she left her drug rehabilitation program. Despite some misgivings over his sister’s vagueness over the commune’s location, Patrick travels to the commune with his friends and co-workers Sam and Jake, who suspect that they might get a story out of the travels. Once there, Patrick is met by his sister, who is happier and healthier than she has been in a while. His friends begin to film interviews with Eden Parish’s inhabitants, all of which speak of the commune in glowing terms. However they soon discover that there is a sinister edge to the commune that belies the seemingly peaceful setting.
Director Ti West is in a class of his own.
After debuting with the very underwhelming sequel to Cabin Fever, he went on to bring us a couple of fun slow-burn horror flicks with The House Of The Devil and The Innkeepers. His latest film The Sacrament, has been shrouded in secrecy.
Up until now, all we knew was that is was “loosely” based on the events in Jonestown in the late 70s. After finally seeing the trailer, it appears that it follows the story more closely than expected. Looks like an interesting film to me!
What do you guys think?
The Sacrament will hit theaters June 6th, 2014.
Set in the midst of a brutal war in the Balkans in 1996, The Seasoning House is a film dripping with atmosphere. From the opening scenes set to the sounds of one girl weeping as another crawls through an air vent, we are forced to vicariously take part in the secret goings-on of a horrible place.
The Seasoning House an old rickety place, filled with the spoils of war. Meaning a recurring supply of kidnapped young ladies who are forced to pleasure the weary soldiers who have most likely murdered their entire families.
“What ever life you knew is gone,” the girls are told as they arrive, and it proves to be sadly true.
Our main character is “Angel” a young birth-marked deaf-mute girl who somehow gets taken under the wing of the otherwise sadistic owner of the house, Viktor.
In order to keep herself under the radar of the housemaster and his lecherous guests, Angel scurries around through the walls, and performs the dirty jobs of shooting up the other girl’s with heroin and smearing their faces with makeup.
The first half is an unflinching look at the inner workings of this shameful rape house, and does the job of making the audience squirm. Angel does what she must to survive, as do the victimized women, but the monsters are real and they are horrible.
The atmosphere of filth and dread is almost unbearable.
Angel makes a connection with one of the girls, who happens to know sign language. Through flashbacks we see Angel’s abusive relationship with her own father, and her family torn apart for sport.
When her mother’s killer shows up at the House with a patrol of men on a break, Angel makes her move to try and save her friend and escape the House. It is a bloody turning point about halfway through the film. From then on we thankfully don’t witness any more rapey stuff, but the film follows Angel’s escape, which plays out something like “People Under The Stairs vs. The Military”. I mean that in a good way.
It is a complete tonal shift from the first half, as the resourceful young girl makes a sport of these militarized heathens. She is wonderful in the role, agile and smart and I found myself rooting for her escape whole-heartedly.
The film as a whole may be uneven, and the rapy-er parts might turn some viewers off, but all in all I found The Seasoning House to be an interesting and well-told tale.
Find it on DVD here, or catch it on Netflix Streaming!
Grade : B
After a decade working as a storyboard artist for Pixar, Josh Cooley has emerged with a collection of new artwork that will make any geek giddy. Taking key scenes from our beloved horror classics and repackaging them in a kiddy-friendly tone, he has tapped into a wealth of original and strangely familiar new artwork.
The tongue-in-cheek nature of the captions help to give the reader the feeling of those classic storybooks, and coupled with the excellent illustrations, these works have a strange disorienting effect on the viewer. He has taken our collective childhoods and smashed them directly into our adult obsessions, creating a one-of-a-kind experience!
He has released a large series of prints of the original artwork for sale on his website, and is collecting the images for a new book called “Movies R Fun”. He describes it as “a book that should probably not be read at bedtime” and you can get yours here!
See the trailer below, and enjoy a selection of my personal favorites :
Check out Mr. Cooley’s website for more info and updates in the future, and if you are in the Los Angeles area be sure and hit Gallery 1988 this Saturday February 22nd, for his gallery show / book release!
I know I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these books!
Saturday, the 18th of January 2012. A quarter of an hour before the match. An hour before the Apocalypse. In a small village in the north-east of France, Caplongue, lays a nuclear power plant, an industrialized agriculture and a church lower than its unemployment rate but also, the football team, which managed to reach the 1/32nd French Final Cup with a lot of courage and talent. The village is all the more jubilating at the idea of receiving the Paris Olympic, a top league club with famous footballers.For the Paris Olympic, it’s the opposite. The team mustn’t lose.
This match, which was supposed to be a formality, has become of paramount importance. Between Paris and Caplongue, there is more than 250kms. It’s a match that opposes the rural to the urban world, the amateurs to the professionals, a province town to the capital, the poor to the rich. While the amateurs give a rough ride to the professionals, an epidemic instantly transforms the players, the spectators and the inhabitants into strange and enraged creatures.
If any country has been kicking ass in the horror genre lately, it is France.
After home-runs with Martyrs, Inside, and High Tension, the bleak outlook of pure squirm-inducing horror has been a great antidote to many of the factory-created re-imaginings and reboots we get from Hollywood.
Now turning their sites on a horror comedy, which the films listed above decidedly were NOT, directors Benjamin Rocher and Thierry Poiraud are bringing something new to the table, with any luck!
Unfortunately there are no sub-titles in the above trailer, although the audience can definitely get the gist of it. One to keep an eye on, for sure!
The Goal Of The Dead Facebook page can be found here, to keep in the loop!