Volumes of Blood review

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Volumes of Blood

Written by Todd Martin, P.J. Starks, and Nathan Thomas Milliner and directed by Jakob Bilinski, Nathan Thomas Milliner, John Kenneth Muir, P.J. Starks, and Lee Vervoort.

I am first greeted with the following screen:

Warning:

The following anthology was an experiment in fear.

Nearly one-hundred artists came
together to volunteer their talents to create
this project.

This is a true endeavor of independent cinema

VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED

Immediately, I was elated. I have said it before, horror needs more anthology movies! From the ABC’s of Death films, Creepshow, the V/H/S series, to the lesser, but still enjoyable effort, Tales from the Hood (A guilty viewing pleasure of mine from time to time). I have always found that the anthology style format suits the horror genre well. So when I had the chance to view an indie horror film anthology, I jumped at the chance. I have viewed many smaller budget independent films over the years, of all genre types. From every extreme end of the spectrum. Most times, I am left under whelmed and dissatisfied overall. However, I am very pleased to say, that is not the case with Volumes of Blood.

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The first scene opens up with a subtitle that tells us that it’s Friday October 13th (18 days till Halloween). We see a knife wielding killer lurking in the shadows, watching a couple making out in a Corvette. When the couple began their dialogue, I have to admit, I was worried. Way over the top acting and quoting every 80’s film cliché cheese phrase imaginable. “I’ll be right back. It’s the Rodster, I’m no stranger to danger,” or “I’m no sucka emcee.” Following the “rules” of the 80’s slasher was front and center. I thought to myself, “Here we go.” So when the camera pans away and you see that it’s a movie, Murder Death Killer 3, someone else is watching on a phone, I had breathed a huge sigh of relief. I said it again, “Here we go.” But this time I didn‘t say it with disdain, I said it with delight because it was from that point that I knew I wasn’t in for the typically stale horror, by the book film, that can even come from the creative, outside the box, playing field that is the indie genre.

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What we have is a main story plot, 4 stories being told, and a sort of “frame story” plot that reveals itself towards the end and is executed brilliantly. Not one story held anything over the next. They were each memorable for their own charms. I literally had fun watching this film. It was evident the major focal point was to entertain the audience over taking itself too seriously. My favorite character had to be P.J. Starks himself, playing himself. This is where the real comedic value of the film came into play. It was refreshing to see a director take this stance of the stereotype. This was a very enjoyable and satisfying piece of independent film making. This is a must see for any fan of indie films, self referential films, fans of anthologies, or anyone just looking for something different and unique. I haven’t seen a piece of independent film making that I enjoyed as much as I did this film. At all times clever, crafty, and effective.

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My grade for this film: A-


It is here at last! The Company of Shadows by Paul Gerrard.

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The Company of Shadows

It all started with an idea. An idea to take a stale franchise and breathe new life into a beloved horror film series. An iconic character redesigned, FX in place, and two creative masters at the helm, and the impressive Hellraiser: Origins trailer was born.

Being a big Hellraiser fan myself and seeing the ambition and potential from the trailer, I knew I had to keep a close eye on this project, which was clearly a labor of love. So I stayed in touch with Paul Gerrard over time to get updates and the latest news on the project. After hearing the project would not be picked up, mainly due to the original creator, Clive Barker, expressing his interest in revisiting Hellraiser, I was sorely disappointed.

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But Paul never wanted to let his vision die. Not only did he continue to create within that universe, he expanded upon it with a plethora of twisted new and exciting characters from god )or maybe something darker and older would be more fitting) only knows what perverse universe. Placenta Boy seemed to be the perfect poster boy for this campaign. For from something that was dead, birthed something more aberrant, more mad and beautifully grotesque than his deepest desires of hell.

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The Company of Shadows kickstarter was then thrust into a world where it would not be widely understood, if only because of its boldness to be original. His twisted notions of character design and body horror is the star in this, exceedingly brilliant with each turn of the page, art book. Accompanying each character is a fascinatingly written outline of that characters origins, past/present, and/or future, which really adds to its jaw dropping unearthly visuals. I have read and had my mind and psyche devour and absorb these pages over and over again. The great thing about this book is there is something new to see each time. Each detail, no matter how small, is painstakingly added for a reason. The images and the symbols found within, resonate in your subconscious well after putting it down.

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What resides in this tome is something that is uniquely important and better yet proof, to those that still believe there is still primordial creativity and new ideas swarming about in the minds of a few. One of the many great things about owning this book is knowing your money will be going towards making new IP’s using some of the characters from the book.

Paul Gerrard is best known for his work in Battle: Los Angeles, Wrath of the Titans, and even the new blockbuster hit TMNT, but I believe he will now be best known for his masterpiece, The Company of Shadows.

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Stephen Cooney Artist Spotlight

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Artist Spotlight : Stephen Cooney

Working with Horrorhomework.com, I get to see all kinds of crazy shit. From a variety of films, to books, and even art. So every once and awhile during a regular session of perusing the macabre on the internet, you come across something that catches your eye immediately. That’s exactly what happened when I came across the art of Stephen Cooney. After looking into more of his artwork I just knew I had to have a chat with him and share it with my fellow horror classmates. Based out of the UK he has been painting for as long as he can remember, but took a couple of years to break into the tattoo industry, which he became very popular in because of his horror art style which is always a favorite of many. He does both ink sketches and full paintings, but prefers full paintings, finding them more enjoyable. Stephen is always doing commissioned pieces of some kind of another.
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When I asked him about the dark tone of most of his artwork, some of which looked like it had Lovecraftian influence, this is what he said.
“Well I don’t know really, I’ve always been into the dark side of art. As a kid I grew up listening to Iron maiden and in art class I would sit and copy the artwork and day dream that I would one day do the same thing, designing album covers for the biggest metal bands and seeing my artwork on t shirts. Then I got into the fantasy side of things because a friend was into Dungeons and Dragons, of which TSR had the best artwork I had ever seen. But in terms of influence, it would have to be Derek Riggs, the Iron Maiden artist.”

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I can totally see the Iron Maiden artwork influence. Stephen’s artwork seems as if it is right off of an Iron Maiden’s Greatest Hits album cover. While he has not done any album covers as of yet, he has done about 60 book covers and endless magazine covers. He is the over artist for Nightmare Illustrated Magazine, which is a bi-monthly publication. A new project which seems to be growing fast. Check it out at horrifiedpress.com

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He has done over 100 paintings so when I asked him if he had a favorite, he said he couldn’t really say. They all have their special meaning, some coming from a time when he was just trying to get his name out there. Knowing his style of work I had to ask the question, had he ever done any horror icons, or was all of his artwork original?
“I’ve been really lucky so far. Publishers have always come to me saying, we’ve got this title, see what you can come up with. Which has been great for me, using my own imagination to come up with something which maybe hasn’t been done yet. I haven’t done an exciting character yet.”

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Of course the questions of “If you could do any horror character, who or what would it be? Do you have a favorite horror film?” had to be asked.
“Alien was a massive film for me. The fact that you hardly saw it and if you did, it was always in the dark. I love that in a horror film and films like the Exorcist. I love anything demonic. As for existing characters, no one has asked. Really, I’ll paint anything, although I was asked to paint a barbarian thing and I had to say, it been done so many times before so I came up with a mad max type of thing. I think along those lines instead of something that’s been painted by many artists.”

Stephen says in the future he would like to see his artwork on album covers and back stage drops for rock bands, tour t-shirts, maybe films, but in the mean time to just keep doing what he’s doing to push towards that goal. He is now getting into subjects other than horror now, which he is enjoying.
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He would like to give a huge thank you to all his publishers for having such faith in his work. And would like to thank his wife Amanda, who puts up with so much crap, paintings everywhere and the like. She is very supportive in her own way and would never have accomplished what he has without her.

I have no doubts that Stephen’s talent will be able to achieve any endeavors that lay ahead of him. I appreciate Stephen taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat with me about his artwork. They are all truly amazing. You too can check out his artwork on Facebook on the Cooney Art page.

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Exclusive interview with Paul Gerrard and The Company of Shadows!

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The Company of Shadows

Back in November we here at HorrorHomework.com were one of the first, if not the first, to bring horror fans an exclusive interview with Paul Gerrard about his new, exciting, and innovative pitch trailer for his vision of Hellraiser: Origins. A lot has happened since then and word is beginning to circulate about Paul’s first art book, “The Company of Shadows”. So I decided I’d sit and have a chat with Paul via Skype about his new kickstarter campaign for his art book and the current state of Hellraiser: Origins.

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Death by Stereo: So can you tell us what’s happened with the original Hellraiser: Origins project since we last spoke?

Paul Gerrard: As you know, we’ve geared up to pitch to the studio and the news that there was going to be a remake kind of killed us dead really. So at the moment there were plans to convert it to a graphic novel, but that fell through because Boom were doing their own version. So what we plan to do is, long term, turn the whole thing into a new IP from scratch. We will be hopefully be shooting a short sometime early next year and go from there.

DBS: That would be fantastic. So is The Company of Shadows all Hellraiser based or is it a collection of all of your creations?

PG: No, there’s about ten characters from Origins that are in there and their stories. There’s a big section about Hellraiser, it’s about 90 percent new characters. There’s character from other movies as well.

DBS: I know you mentioned that the news of the Hellraiser remake blew you dead out of the water. I agree with what you had said in our last interview that there is no reason the two should not be able to coexist with one another. Do you feel like the production company just wasn’t ready to get rid of the tiring formula that the franchise has used so many times? Or do you feel there were other reasons involved?

PG: I think it purely comes down to money. I know for a fact that Dimension has no further plans to make any Hellraiser movie. But the plans they had initially, it would’ve had to have been a pretty low budget affair. So they would’ve wanted to do the same thing as they did with Evil Dead, contain it within a small house. But it’s been done, I don’t see why you would want to sit through that again. It’s such a massive franchise.

DBS: So talk to us about your new kickstarter project. Did this originally evolve from the Hellraiser: Origins project?

PG: Yeah it did. I was almost ready to give up with a lot of this stuff. A lot of movies and this kind of world. It wasn’t until I put it out there to the fans of Origins, a lot of them were just saying, Do your own thing. Take Hellraiser, make an art book from it and so I have. I looked at all the artwork I have created. What I want to do is showcase them the way I see them and not just as illustrations. So I started to put it together and it just exploded. I got obsessed as usual and as often happens. It has mini stories with every character that nobody normally sees and all the notes that I make that people don’t usually get to see online or on Facebook.

DBS: That’s great. Speaking solely of the Cenobites in your Hellraiser world, what is the most difficult thing about designing these odd and grotesque looking characters?

PG: Knowing where to stop I think. In my mind they could be anything. They could be part tree, they could be insect, they can be anything you want. You’re dealing with kind of an off-shoot of a god creature in different realms. The way I saw it was, what you see in the movies is only like ten percent of what could be the Hellraiser world. You’re seeing just a tiny fraction of that human element and when it comes to Cenobites, they could be anything. Then you have to balance it with whether you decide to go down the route of contemporary, or not. The contemporary side is what sells. Where as the stuff I want to do, probably isn’t. So it’s just trying to get that balance.

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DBS: Absolutely. I know you like to incorporate symbols and things of that nature into your characters. Where did this idea come from?

PG: It’s the way I work. The characters stem from the symbols. I’ll explain my process for creating any character, whether it be my own stuff or with movies. I’ll consume the information first. Whether it be aliens or whatever. Read all the information they give me and I’ll do some research on imagery. I sleep on it and just see what kind of comes out. I’m a great believer that the subconscious mind is more powerful than your conscious mind. If you figure out a way to make your subconscious mind work for you, I think that’s a better way to work, in my opinion. The symbols thing is taking that a step further in that, I’ll consume the information, wake up and scribble the first symbol that I’ve got. The way I see it, that symbol represents the information that I’ve consumed. Then I’ll base the character on that symbol. So it kind of makes sense in a round about way.

DBS: So you really see, in particular, the Hellraiser world as kind of being limitless in that aspect.

PG: Yeah. If you look at the Pinhead that’s been redone, my version of Pinhead, you can break it down into symbols. There are triangles, one representing femininity and one representing the afterlife. You have symbols on the head representing the marella, which is a medieval child’s playing game. If you look all down the body, it’s the same thing. Each Chakra point of the body, there’s a symbol that represents a certain element in time, even a certain historical symbol. It’s just the way I like to work. I think your mind, even though you don’t understand them, your mind still picks them up and goes, I recognize that symbol, I recognize that shape and it draws you in.

DBS: It’s almost like you’ll see something new every time you see the image.

PG: The Illuminati have been doing it for decades, so if it’s good enough for them ya know…

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DBS: You told us about how you go about using symbols in your characters by using dreams. Do you use any other methods such as meditation?

PG: I don’t do full meditation anymore like I used to. The place where I live is unsavory. I believe that the environment you’re in affects your meditative state, so I don’t do that as much. But what I do is more quiet meditations. Maybe just a little music to help clear your mind and then you can allow the images to come through after that. It’s just a way to filter your mind of all the shit so all the pure imagery can pop in there.

DBS: I read some info that you plan to take the movie shorts and plan full features. Are you speaking of full length films?

PG: Yeah, full length films. The guy I work with, Paul Griffith who’s a screenwriter. Together we are doing shots first and then make them into a full feature. We’ve got one that is about a month away from full script. But like anything, you’ve got to do the first steps first. We’ll get the shots done, we’ll get them out, and then we’ll start pitching the full features.

DBS: Excellent, I can’t wait for that. What can we as fans and viewers expect from your film shorts?

PG: I would say if you look at early Clive Barker and early Cronenberg, its like imaginative body horror. So it would be terrifying body horror like Videodrome, but with more of the fantastical creatures of Clive Barker. That’s the stuff I love, the stuff I grew up with. It would be a mix. If, if I use CG you would never be able to tell it was CG, it would be more used for the background. Mostly I will be using prosthetics. I think that’s just the way to go.

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DBS: I couldn’t agree more. I think CG is overly used a lot of times and nothing beats the practical effects.

PG: I’m just a huge fan of the blood FX guys and what they can do.

DBS: Absolutely. I recall there being a view counter on the official Hellraiser: Origins website for the pitch trailer you created. How did the final number coincide with your expectations? Were there more or less views than you had actually expected?

PG: There’s a lot less because we really relied a lot on the press and I had interviews lined up with about four different, huge magazines and online. All the little guys, all the little independent horror sites backed us fully. But I think in order to get those views from the mainstream, we needed those magazines. As soon as news of the remake popped up, they just dropped us dead. Which is understandable because you don’t want to make a two page spread on some random guy’s pitch, when Clive Barker is going to do his. It was just bad timing.

DBS: And it was unfortunate. It was just bad timing. You guys just both came to the table at the same time.

PG: And who’s going to argue with Clive Barker and the Weinsteins ya know (laughs)

DBS: What are your thoughts on the current state of the Hellraiser franchise?

PG: I think it’s dead and buried personally. I don’t think they are going to do anything with it. If they do, I very much doubt it will be anything new. Not because of the creative people involved, but because that’s just what the studios demand of it. That’s what the studios will pay for. There’s no way in hell that anything I do is going to be studio based from now on. If I get to a point to which I am ever looking or being in a position to pitch stuff, it won’t be to studios. No chance.

DBS: Cant blame you there. The studios have totally trashed more than just the Hellraiser franchise and its all become a money game and a rights game.

PG: I think eventually all films will be digital and downloadable and your big studio films will all be along the likes of The Avengers 7 and Spiderman reboot 9. That’s all you’ll get.

DBS: Yeah. Everything that’s already been done.

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PG: I read somewhere that “B” movies have died off because their publishers can’t get them out quick enough. Which is a shame because I grew up with “B” movies. I’m hoping that will change. Get to a point where you can just delete the publishers and do the whole thing yourself. I hoping that way of working will come back.

DBS: Definitely. I think you would see a lot more originality that way. Let’s talk about your art book The Company of Shadows a little more. How many characters would you say you have designed specifically for the book?

PG: For the book, somewhere around fifty I’d say. I’ve had a few projects on the go that I’ve said to the people, well I’ll do your project for you, if you allow me to put them into the book. So I’m doing that, but yeah around fifty just specifically for the book. Which has been fun because I don’t have to answer to anybody. It is just purely my own. Plus it allows me to be a bit more warped. I don’t have to hold back.

DBS: Sure, there’s nothing wrong with that! Can you tell us a little more about what your plans are moving forward, assuming the kickstarter project reaches its goal?

PG: Yeah. Assuming that it does, we would spent at least three months on pre-production on three of the shorts. That’s three months just full out, nothing else, as many hours as I can. Then we will take those and hopefully have enough behind us to get one into post production. That’s the plan.

DBS: And how do you feel about the current dollars you have received so far, without even reaching out to the press yet?

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PG: It’s been good. I already hit something like ten percent already. The first six days were slow because what I had written about the product on the page, I think was too confusing. People reading it didn’t know whether it was an art book or a Hellraiser book. So I sat down and rewrote it. It’s a concept art character book. Since I’ve rewritten the description sales has gone up a little bit. Like you said it hasn’t hit the press yet either.

DBS: Exactly. Well, I can’t wait to get my hands on it myself. And I think when the word gets out, and the contest/giveaway we plan on doing with you on www.horrorhomework.com, when the word really gets out there, things are going to skyrocket.

PG: I hope so. Fingers crossed.

DBS: So are there any current or future project you’re working on you would like to tell us a little about?

PG: I’m working on Chinese horror/sci-fi movie part time, which I can’t talk too much about. I’m also working on a big budget remake of Videodrome. That should kick off again in about four months. It’s one that I started last year, they went through rewrites, and stopped and started again type thing. I’ve read the script and it’s fuckin awesome. Everybody worries about Videodrome being remade, don’t touch Videodrome, but honestly it will be worth doing. I’ll be doing the creatures so there ya go.

DBS: Well then we can’t go wrong with the remake.

PG: I hope so.

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DBS: Well that’s all the questions I have, is there anything else you’d like to add or tell us about?

PG: Only that, in the book, even though it’s predominately all concept art, as in it’s all characters, you will get a lot of short stories. The shorts we are doing, the foundations for them are within the book. If we made these shorts and features, the book would act as sort of a prequel, you could look back and see all of the characters. All the artwork I’m giving away for free as part of the promotion, are all the same characters.

DBS: So the shorts we’ve spoken about, are they based on a variety of different characters from the book, or will they be more Hellraiser driven?

PG: Different characters and there will the Hellraiser as a new IP, which will be based on about six of the characters. But three of the other shorts will all be based on one character each. Some of them are kind of walking, talking characters. Some are inside peoples minds and some will be what the lead actor will become.

DBS: When will these shorts be available?

PG: As soon as we get them done. Hopefully we can get them on the circuit and the film festivals, do it that way.

DBS: Are they something that will be available online?

PG: They’ll be 100 percent online. That’s the way we’ll do it. What we’ll try to do is do the short distribution. Instead of going through studios, we’ll do it through fans, maybe through another kickstarter, and through social media. I think it’s just the best way to keep control over what it is you want to do.

DBS: Absolutely. Everything is in your hands and nobody is going to tell you, you should do a little more of this, or a little less of that.

PG: No one is going to tell you that the leading actress has to have perfect teeth or a certain size.

DBS: Alright Paul, well if there’s nothing else, I appreciate you talking with me. I appreciate your involvement in the contest for horror homework.com. We will get the word out there and we’ll get this book made, we’ll do it.

PG: Well thanks for your help. With it being horror and with it being kind of a niche market, it’s so hard to get it out there and every little bit helps.

DBS: We back you 100 percent and we will do anything we can to help you out.

PG: Thanks a lot mate.

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Paul has posted numerous pictures on his facebook page of his characters, only some of which you will see here, directly from The Company of Shadows. It’s yet another ambitious project from a very talented artist and one of the most original in the business.
Be sure to donate for this excellent cause.
You can own PDF and hardcover versions of the book, original black and white or color sketches of a “cast,” prints, even busts of “Placenta Boy” or the “High Priest,” and so much more! Certain pieces are in very limited runs, so act fast!

Watch our HorrorHomework.com facebook page for a giveaway to win an original piece of art from Paul Gerrard, painted just for this promotion, along with a signed book upon its release.

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Hellbound: Hellraiser II

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“Your suffering will be legendary, even in hell!”

Hellraiser has spawned eight sequels over the years, not including the piece of trash Revelations, and has made “Pinhead” one of the most iconic of all the horror villains of all time.
It has one of the biggest cult followings ever and has actually influenced our culture in more ways than one. Many people will tell you that they like Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 better and actually prefer it over the first Hellraiser film. Then again, many people will also tell you that the first film is by far superior.
I find myself stuck somewhere in the middle. I don’t feel that either film is better or worse than the other. I tend to think of this film as more of a great companion piece to the first Hellraiser. It is the only one in the series that continues the story of its predecessor and it is the start of the ever growing mythology that has become the Hellraiser universe.

The film once again stars Clare Higgins as Julia and Ashley Laurence as Kirsty. The newcomers are Kenneth Cranham as Dr. Channard and Imogen Boorman as Tiffany. Pinhead is played by Doug Bradley, Chatterer by Nicholas Vince, the female Cenobite by Barbie Wilde, and Butterball by Simon Bamford.

“We have eternity to know your flesh.”

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The first Hellraiser film gave us the love story of Julia and Frank and the “super butcher” order, also known as the Cenobites. Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 puts the tragic story of Julia and Frank on the back burner and changes gears a little, favoring to focus more on the Cenobites themselves. As viewers we get to see just how “Pinhead” was created and also get to see a new Cenobite being created as well.

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The film is a direct continuation of Hellraiser. In fact, the beginning of Hellbound is the ending of Hellraiser. After Kirsty defeats the Cenobites and sends them back to the labyrinths of Hell, she is sent to a mental institution where she meets Dr. Channard. With the exception of a single doctor, his colleagues and a police detective, not believing a word of her fantastical story, assume she has lost her mind. She almost wonders herself after having a vision of what she thinks is her skinned father appearing in her room, and with a bloody fingertip writes the words, “I am in Hell help me.”

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This begins her voyage to Hell and save her father.
It turns out Dr. Channard wants to embark on a voyage of his own. We see throughout the film he has been obsessed with “the box” and the pleasure and pain aspect it synonymously represents. He has the mattress that Julia died on delivered directly to his home. What unfolds is actually one of my favorite scenes in the film. Dr. Channard brings a patient, known as Mr. Browning, to his home from the mental ward. The acting here given by Oliver Smith, is second to none. This is one of those scenes you won’t soon forget. The patient is restrained by a traditional straight jacket and constantly repeats the words, “Get them off me, get them off me!” Releasing the patient from his restraints, Dr. Channard sets Mr. Browning on the mattress and gives him a straight razor to relieve himself from his mental affliction. Mr. Browning then cuts himself repeatedly from chest to groin. That’s when we see a skinless Julia rise from the mattress, and after a short struggle, consumes the patient much in the same way Frank did his victims in the first film. What follows is a unique journey from the maze like corridors of the labyrinth of hell and back.

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“Our mind is a labyrinth.”

Just like the first Hellraiser, this film is packed with highly quotable lines, from beginning to end. Tony Randel did a masterful job of creating Hell on celluloid, particularly how he makes Hell seem “personalized.” We get a glimpse of Frank’s Hell, and I must say, it is quite suiting. We learn from the first film that Frank is a lustful being always looking to satisfy his every sexual desire. There are small arch ways on each side of his room in his personal part of Hell. Inside each hole is a sliding table with writhing, voluptuous women moaning in ecstasy, that he is completely unable to touch or even see outside of the sheet that has been placed on each. If he tries to remove the sheet, there is nothing there anymore, only a slab where the womanly shape had been. Frank’s quote regarding this is wonderful. “This is my Hell. They are here to tease me. They promise forever and never deliver.”

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“Oh my God!”
“No, this is mine. God of flesh, hunger, desire. My God Leviathan, Lord of the Labyrinth.”

When the film was released, screenwriter Peter Atkins received loads of hate mail from fans that were outraged that “Pinhead” and his three Cenobite cohorts, were so easily defeated in their battle. Peter Atkins said it was because they had become “spiritually weakened” by Kirsty when she reminded them that they were once human, while Dr. Channard had already completely left his humanity behind. A lot of people who have seen Hellbound multiple times complain of a somewhat muddled storyline.
One main reason is because Andrew Robinson refused to reprise his role as Larry Cotton, which forced hasty script rewritings. Andrew has stated that he withdrew himself from the production because he was told he would be making less in Hellbound than he did in Hellraiser.

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If you’re a long time fan as I am, you’ll remember an image on the back of the original VHS jacket depicted Pinhead and the female Cenobite dressed as doctors. There are some that think this had become a deleted scene. Doug Bradley enlightened long time fans on his official website by stating that the scene had never been filmed, nor completed. The day they were to shoot that scene, the special effects were not working properly and eventually it was decided that the scene be abandoned.

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Tony Randel made an excellent decision by bringing back Christopher Young for the soundtrack. He did such a masterful job in Hellraiser and it actually became a highlight of the first film. He does such a great job of showing us balance in his score, a mix of beauty and terror, light and dark. He even went so far as to incorporate morse code for “GOD” with Tibetan horns when Leviathan is first shown.

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I have had the absolute pleasure in chatting with both Nicholas Vince (Chatterer) and Barbie Wilde (Deepthroat). They are both great actors and are both authors that have recently published books, all with fantastic success and excellent reviews and they have taken time out of their busy schedules to answer a few questions for me.

Barbie Wilde interview :

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Death by Stereo: The Cenobite you play ultimately became known as “Deep Throat.” Is this a nickname that happened on set during filming? Or was it created by fans of the films?

Barbie Wilde: “Deep Throat” is the nickname that the Image Animation makeup crew gave to the Female Cenobite character. If you look at the credits from the first film, Pinhead was “Lead Cenobite”, Chatterer was “Chattering Cenobite”, Butterball was “Butterball Cenobite”, etc. By the time the second film rolled around, the decision was made to give the Cenobites their makeup crew names for the credits. However, the American production company thought that “Deep Throat” was too rude to use in the credits (because of the notorious 1972 film, Deep Throat, starring Linda Lovelace), so I was lumbered with the rather dull name of Female Cenobite.

Death by Stereo: Did you do anything specific to prepare for the role?

Barbie Wilde: I read Clive Barker’s novella, The Hellbound Heart, as preparation for the role. The makeup and the costume were really helpful as well. Looking into the mirror and seeing myself as a Female Cenobite for the first time was really empowering.

Death by Stereo: Were you ever asked to reprise the role of the Female Cenobite in any of the subsequent films?

Barbie Wilde: The whole production moved to Hollywood and Doug Bradley was the only Cenobite who was asked to come on board.

Death by Stereo: Do you have a favorite Hellraiser film?

Barbie Wilde: I’ve only seen the first two. I love the first Hellraiser movie. I think that the character of Julia is absolutely brilliant. All that twisted sexual obsession for bad boy Frank! And of course, the first time the Cenobites enter is a pretty gobsmacking moment. Of course, a lot of fans prefer Hellbound, as it delves into the Cenobite-Hellraiser mythology in more detail.

Death by Stereo: Clive Barker has recently said that he is very interested in remaking the first Hellraiser film. Would you be interested in appearing once again as a Cenobite for the remake should Clive ask?

Barbie Wilde: If Clive wanted me to be in a Hellraiser reboot, then who am I to say no?! Of course, I’d love to appear in anything that Clive was involved in.

Death by Stereo: How did you get the part of the Female Cenobite?

Barbie Wilde: My acting agent was approached by Doreen Jones, the Casting Director of Hellbound. I met with Tony Randel and I got the part. It was probably one of the easiest auditions I’ve ever gone to! And who knows, maybe Tony was impressed that I knew what the word “cenobite” meant. (It means a member of an order.) He thought it was a word that Clive had made up.

Death by Stereo: What was your favorite experience/memory on the set?

Barbie Wilde: The camaraderie behind the scenes. We all spent a heck of a lot of time being prepared for our roles in makeup and costume: my prosthetic makeup took four hours to apply; I think Doug’s took five hours; Ken Cranham’s took six. We kept our spirits up by telling stories, singing (I know all the hits from Cabaret) and dancing. There is some footage up on Youtube of Simon “Butterball” Bamford doing the CanCan in his costume. Fabulous!

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Here’s Part One of the Hellbound behind-the scenes video filmed by Geoff Portass:

And here’s Part Two:

Also, I’ll never forget my first day of filming. My flight back from the States was delayed 24 hours, so I had to go straight from the airport to Pinewood Studios, then sit in the makeup chair for four hours, get into costume, then wait around for six hours until I got in front of the cameras to film the first big Cenobite scene in Channard’s study. By that time, I was not only jet-lagged and exhausted by not having any sleep for 24 hours, but my mental state was altered beyond belief. I really did feel like a demon from hell!

Death by Stereo: What are you working on these days?

Barbie Wilde: I’m writing a screenplay based on one of my short stories, ‘Zulu Zombies’, which appeared in Fangoria’s Gorezone #29, as well as the anthology, Bestiarum Vocabulum, which is published by Western Legends.
I will be appearing (for the first time in 16 years) in a brilliantly written, unusual British horror anthology movie called Bad Medicine, written by Amazon #1 horror author Dave Jeffery. I’ll be playing an unconventional therapist. I’m also co-writing a musical drama for both stage and screen called Sailor. It’s about love, revenge, death and redemption, set in the ruins of post-War Marseille.

Death by Stereo: Your book The Venus Complex is getting rave reviews all across the board, including our review here at Horror Homework. Do you prefer writing as opposed to acting, and why?

Barbie Wilde: I love writing, although it’s not an easy process for me. I can’t really compare acting and writing – they are so different. (Yet at the same time, complement each other perfectly.) I’m excited to be acting in a movie again after all these years, but I’m equally excited to be writing a movie screenplay.

Death by Stereo: Is there anything you’d like to say to all of the Hellraiser fans out there?

Barbie Wilde: A big “thanks!” to all the fans who have loved Clive Barker’s Hellraiser mythology. It’s a testament to Clive’s genius that people are still intrigued by this most imaginative and seductive of horror stories.

For news, reviews, interviews and convention appearances, you can check out Barbie’s website here, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!
To check out Barbie’s books and stories, please go to her Amazon USA Author Page.

Nicholas Vince interview :

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Death by Stereo: Your makeup is considerably different from the first film. I saw an interview regarding the first film and you mentioned the makeup process, when finished, was tough to see through. Was the change solely for you to be able to see better?

Nicholas Vince: There was a combination of things. It really was a tough makeup to wear, akin to sensory deprivation as I couldn’t hear, speak or see when wearing the original makeup. So, the guys at Image animation suggested making alterations. Also there were sequences in Hellbound where Chatterer was running after Kirsty down the corridors under the Channard institute. Obviously, I’d need to be able to see to do those. We filmed them but they didn’t make the final cut.

Death by Stereo: Did you have any say so in the final look of the character on the second go round?

Nicholas Vince: Nope. I was just happy to be able to see.

Death by Stereo: Did you do anything specific to prepare for the role?

Nicholas Vince: Just the same as when I played him the first time – chattering my teeth to the bathroom mirror.

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Death by Stereo: Were you ever asked to reprise the Chatterer role in any of the subsequent films?

Nicholas Vince: They were all filmed in the USA and I wasn’t asked.

Death by Stereo: Do you have a favorite Hellraiser film?

Nicholas Vince: Hellraiser and Hellbound. Hellraiser, as it’s a domestic drama with monsters and Hellbound for Kenneth Cranham’s wonderfully creepy Dr. Channard.

Death by Stereo: Working on the first and second Hellraiser, what was different for you in regards to taking direction from Clive and Tony?

Nicholas Vince: I’d not met Tony before, whereas I’d known Clive for years. They also had a very different style.

Death by Stereo: I’ve heard you say you actually had an accident on set with a large hook. Can you tell us about that?

Nicholas Vince: We were filming the sequence where Chatterer is hit in the chest by a tentacle fired from Channard’s palm. I was standing in front of a spinning pillar and at the top was a piece of wood sticking out with a chain and 12” rusty hook – a rice hook I think. As I opened my mouth to scream, the point of the hook went between the false teeth and into the roof of my mouth. It only went in about 1/4” so it was very lucky I was wearing the false teeth or it might have been a lot nastier.

Death by Stereo: Clive Barker has recently said that he is very interested in remaking the first Hellraiser film. Would you be interested in appearing once again as a Cenobite for the remake should Clive ask?

Nicholas Vince: If Clive asked, I’d probably walk into a cage full of lions. No, strike that, probably bad to give him ideas. Yes, whatever Clive asked me, I’d probably do it.

Death by Stereo: What was your favorite experience/memory on the set?

Nicholas Vince: Just being back with the gang who’d made Hellraiser and then meeting Barbie Wilde.

Death by Stereo: You have had excellent success with What Monsters Do and Other People’s Darkness, both have great reviews have been well received. Do you prefer writing to acting? Why?

Nicholas Vince: I prefer to doing everything possible. Acting gets me out of the house and it’s really interesting to work with other people’s words, and other actors. I find it very inspiring. At the same time, I love writing. I always wish I was doing more, but as I’m an author publisher, I spend a fair amount of time concentrating on marketing the books etc. And walking the dog.

Death by Stereo: Did you read Clive’s novella, The Hellbound Heart, prior to working on the film?

Nicholas Vince: I suspect I will have read the book after making the film as I have a memory of reading the standalone version, but honestly, I’m not sure.

Death by Stereo: Is there anything you’d like to say to all of the Hellraiser fans out there?

Nicholas Vince: Yes, thank you! It’s been an amazing couple of decades and I’m really looking forward to meeting some of you in a couple of weeks at Texas Frightmare and later at Atlantic City. And, I’m also looking forward to the 30th anniversary of Hellraiser in 3 years time.

Follow Nicholas Vince on Facebook and Twitter as well!

So that’s it Hellraiser fans! Be sure to check out Nicholas Vince’s and Barbie Wilde’s official websites for great Hellraiser memorabilia and upcoming projects. Be sure to friend all the Cenobites for the most current news and places they will be.
Nicholas Vince even does Google chats with fans on occasion! Until next time hellions!

“It is not hands that call us. It is desire.”

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Horror Comics at TFAW.com

An Exclusive Interview with the crew behind “Hellraiser : Origins”!

hellraiser_origins_headerThe first article I wrote for horrorhomework.com was a feature on the film, Hellraiser. I find it to be a film that is very dear to me as a fan. The universe and mythology it’s created is very different than anything I’ve ever seen before. Around 2 years ago, I had read on the internet about an idea to reboot the Hellraiser franchise. This is something I have felt strongly about for quite some time. Each film after the first two tended to get farther and farther away from what Hellraiser actually was. So I followed the idea on the internet and Facebook to see what kind of progress was being made. On October 31, 2013 the official pitch trailer was released on the website and Facebook. I had been waiting for this for quite some time and the time to see what Hellraiser : Origins was all about, was finally here.
See for yourself in the video below :

After watching the trailer, I was not disappointed.
The world they are creating is very impressive. You can tell they are well read up in the mythology of the Hellraiser universe. I enjoyed the trailer and am excited about the possibilities where this can take the franchise. Along with the trailer, they have also released more than a handful of conceptual designs. Things such as ideas on Cenobites, the redesigning of The Engineer, and Leviathan, etc. Judging from what I have seen, I believe that the franchise would be entrusted into good hands. People who actually care about the universe that Clive Barker has created, versus only making much less than par films, just to keep the rights to the Hellraiser name.

promo-posterI had the chance to chat with Paul Gerrard (Wrath of the Titans, Battle LA, TMNT) about the ambitious project to re-imagine the Hellraiser world. Paul designed the new look for Pinhead and was production designer on the shoot and Mike Le Han pulled in all of his film resources and directed the pitch trailer on the new Alex 4:3 camera with anamorphic lenses.

Death by Stereo: First of all I would just like to say thank you both for taking the time to chat with me about your ambitious project, Hellraiser: Origins.
So I guess first things first. Is this a remake of Hellraiser or a reboot of the franchise of sorts? Do you intend your film to be considered a prequel or sequel to any of the other Hellraiser films? And what made you guys decide that was the route you wanted to take?

Paul: This is a reboot of the franchise , a complete re-imagining of the Hellraiser world. It would be a stand alone movie but also act somewhat as a prequel. A true Origins story that would set the franchise up to continue in all manner of ways, no longer confined to the restraints of the current franchised formula.

Death by Stereo: Why Hellraiser? How did the idea of Origins come about?

Paul: It all started over an email rant between myself and long time friend and artist John Gallagher of the state of the franchise two years ago. My partner also turned to me and said, look if you had the chance to re-imagine any iconic character in cinema history who would it be? The answer of course was Pinhead. The two trains of thought merged and the path to create Hellraiser Origins was set.

Death by Stereo: Hellraiser has many devout, loyal fans across the globe. Have either of you found it difficult to try and stay true to the source material to please the fans, yet take that material in a new original direction to make this your own?

Paul: We have kept as true to the source material as possible. Our goal was to expand and explore the mythology, to create an epic vibe while retaining the mystery of the Cenobite order. Its about keeping that balance between the mystery of the unknown and need to see more, to experience more.
The original movie was indeed a masterpiece of imagination and iconic horror. The world we live in so saturated with the tones and taboos explored in those early movies that in order to truly capture the imagination of today’s audience a new direction was needed. I wanted the design, particularly of Pinhead to firstly be stripped of the current franchised restraints and second to be driven by esoteric lines, shapes, and concepts.

Death by Stereo: What was the thought behind re-imagining “Pinhead?” He’s different, yet familiar. Will we see this with the other Cenobites?

PINHEAD_PROMO_01Paul: He is familiar because certain elements of the design are drawn from ancient symbolism, already etched into our culture and indeed in our minds. The Cenobites will indeed follow similar structures/design and concepts. Including the re-imaging of THE ENGINEER and the Leviathan.

SLZ3094-5-681x1024Death by Stereo: Speaking of the Cenobites, that seems to be a very popular topic when it comes to speaking about Hellraiser. Do you find it difficult to design them?

Paul: Not at all. I intend to keep designing them, they are a lot of fun to work on because they can come in all manner of shapes and sizes. All manner of species. From the subtle to the extreme. You can really let your imagination go wild, as long as your have a code in place so they are added to a coherent world.

1385569_568655206541088_1378745031_nDeath by Stereo: Your vision of hell in the pitch trailer seems very dark and grandiose. Where have these inspirations come from?

Paul: It is literally a visual representation of a symbol. That of a flower blooming, a garden of sin, its crop and its harvest. Albeit within a very deep corner of hell, playing with religious iconography and dare I say mainstream ideologies of Hell, again its all about balance. What your subconscious interprets and what your learned visual mind already knows.

BOX_OPENERDeath by Stereo: Many fans have said, if it doesn’t have Doug Bradley or Clive Barker involvement, it’s not going to be a true Hellraiser film. This of course, after the outpouring of rage after Hellraiser Revelations came out and the general decline of the series as a whole with each subsequent entry. Has any of this hindered what you guys wanted to accomplish with this project? And has there been any Doug or Clive involvement?

Paul: We almost had the possibility of Doug Bradley doing the voice but technical restraints and time were against us. So it was a path we couldn’t pursue. We literately put the finishing touches to the grade days before we released the teaser. We sent Clive information on what we where doing at the very start, unfortunately it was around the time he was going through an extremely bad time with his health. We have had no contact from Clive and would love to know what he thinks. We started this to add to the world he created, to keep it alive and push it forward. We saw the awful decline of the franchise, as fans and industry veterans, we said NO MORE.

Death by Stereo: I thought the Pinhead character looked great. Will John Roberts be cast as Pinhead if the pitch is picked up? Any talks with Doug Bradley if that’s not the case?

PINHEAD_PROMO_03Paul: Thanks. Unfortunately who would play Pinhead would be completely out of our hands. It would be down to the studio and Director.

Death by Stereo: How long have things taken from the genesis of the idea to get to the point you’re at now?

Paul: Approximately two years, we had a lot of down time due to VFX problems. We had to shut down for about 6 months as we fixed certain VFX elements and redesigned things that didn’t work for various reasons. Considering it was all fan made for free, we are really pleased with the outcome and the awesome work people did.

ENGINEERDeath by Stereo: Is there any kind of script right now? If not, do you have an idea of the story you two would like to tell?

Paul: We have a number of stories that plug into the world created. That’s all I can say at this point.

Death by Stereo: Assuming that origins is picked up and a success, could there be more films planned within this universe?

Paul: Absolutely, we have created a world which allows many stories to exist and thrive. Modern and ancient.

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Death by Stereo: Going back to the previous question, Clive has recently been quoted as saying he is ready to revisit the franchise and redo the first Hellraiser. Does this have any effect on your project?

Paul: Yes absolutely, how we are not sure yet. Clive returning to the Hellraiser world is amazing but there is no reason why both projects cannot exist, co-exist.

Death by Stereo: So where does the project go from here?

Paul: It all depends on the views of the teaser/art and how its received. In this digital world stats count. The more views, the more the studio and relevant parties are likely to sit up and take notice.

SKINNED_TRIBE_01-591x1024Death by Stereo: Anything you would like to add to all the Hellraiser fans out there before we go?

Paul: The franchise is in safe hands and within imaginative minds. We want what you want i.e. to return to the Hellraiser world. See it done right, see it amaze, shock, and inspire, all over again. We started this as a fan made homage, with the help of online sites we pulled resources together. From like minded fans all over the globe.

LEVIATHAN

So that’s it Hellraiser fans!
Sounds interesting, to say the least.
Stay up to date with this story as it develops on the Hellraiser : Origins website and Facebook page.



Horror Comics at TFAW.com


The Lost Boys

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“One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach, all the damn vampires.”

Remember when vampires were cool? Not these love stricken, glittery, beautiful, girly bitches or so called vampires, but the bad ass motorcycle driving, almost 80’s hair band, wanna eat you kind? With the influx of vampire media flooding the mainstream with things like, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the new Dracula series, Twilight, invading our psyches, it’s possible to forget. Or maybe it isn’t. You ask someone what their favorite vampire movie is and there’s a good chance they will answer with The Lost Boys. There was something about this film that really stood out not only among the 80’s movies in general, but also the continually growing long list of vampire movies and TV shows as a whole. It spawned two direct to video sequels, Lost Boys: The Tribe and Lost Boys: The Thirst. Let’s take a look at why this film has withstood as one of America’s favorite vampire films.

“Maggots Michael. You’re eating maggots.”

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One of the first things to come to mind is the blend of comedy and horror elements throughout the film. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. The film does this in such a way that it does not hinder or hold back the horrific scenes in any way. It made vampires fun while still making them terrifying. All throughout are unforgettable one-liners. One of my favorites was when Sam shoots an arrow through the chest of Dwayne, sending the vamp flying back into the stereo, making it and him explode, and Sam saying “Death by stereo!” Yes, that is where my pseudonym comes from. And now you know.

“My own brother, a goddamn shit sucking vampire! You wait ‘till mom finds out buddy!”

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The screenplay went through several changes before transforming into what we saw in the theatres and on video. The original screenplay was written by Janice Fischer and James Jeremias and was about 6th grade vampire kids, the frog brothers were chubby cub scouts, and star was originally a boy instead of the love interest she ultimately turned out to be. James Jeremias’ inspiration came from the Peter Pan story. Peter could fly, visited Wendy and her brothers at night, and never grew old. So he asked himself, what if Peter Pan was a vampire? Hence the title, The Lost Boys. Keifer Sutherland’s character, David, was originally named Peter. And there were other nods to Peter Pan in the shape of naming the characters after the children in the story. Many changes took place over a period of time including the names of the people in the script. The Frog brothers, Edgar and Alan, were name after the notorious author of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. Executive producer Richard Donner intended to direct the film himself, but as production became sluggish, he moved on to direct Lethal Weapon instead and hired Joel Schumacher to replace him. Joel Schumacher hated the original material and said the only way he would sign on would be if he could change the main characters to teenagers, believing this would be more sexier and interesting overall. The changes were obviously made and what we have left is the final film. The film grossed over $32 million.

“Great! The bloodsucking Brady Bunch!”

There was also a novel written and released to accompany the film by Craig Shaw Gardner, who received a copy of the script to adapt from. It was released in paper back and is 220 pages long. Though a short read, it contains several scenes later dropped from the film such as Michael working as a trash collector to make money to buy his leather jacket. It also expands the roles of the opposing gang, the Surf Nazi’s, who were seen as just nameless victims in the film. It includes several tidbits of vampire lore, such as not being able to cross running water and salt sticking to their forms. It has since become a collector’s item among fans, with a price range of anywhere to $20 for a well read and battered copy, to $150 for copies in good condition.

“Now you know what we are, now you know what you are. You’ll never grow old Michael, and you’ll never die. But you must feed!”

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While he may not be the main character, the star of the film has got to be Keifer Sutherland as David. His charismatic character is fun to watch, being a terrifying vampire one minute and sinisterly messing with Michael’s head in the next. Corey Haim’s character, Sam, also brought some comedic relief at times and his interactions with his brother, Jason Patric’s character Michael, in most scenes, were downright funny.

“Bad breath, long fingernails? Yeah his fingernails are a little bit longer, um, he always had bad breath though.”

Now time for the Did You Know part of the article. Kiefer Sutherland was only supposed to wear the black gloves he sports as David when riding his motorcycle. However, while messing around on the bike behind the scenes, he fell off, breaking his arm so he had to wear the gloves throughout the entire movie to cover his cast.
The movie was filmed in Santa Cruz, CA. Santa Cruz in Spanish means “Holy Cross,” which is an interesting connection given the vampire subject matter and their vulnerability to crucifixes.
The Lost Boys was Corey Haim and Corey Feldman’s first film together, which marked the start of a popular 80’s trend “The Two Corey’s” in which they both starred together in a number of teenage films.
The merry-go-round sequence foreshadows the order in which the Lost Boys will die. Marko dies first, Paul second, Dwayne third, and David last.
Edgar Frog predicts how each of the vampires will die saying, “No two vamps die the same way, some yell and scream, some go quietly, some explode, and some implode.
In the vampires cave you can clearly see a poster of Jim Morrison. He recorded the original version of “People are strange” with The Doors. And later when Star and Laddie are being carried into Sam’s room, you can see a poster of Echo & The Bunnymen who recorded the version of the song used in the film.
David is impaled on a pair of antlers and doesn’t disintegrate like the other vampires. Despite what Max says later, David is not really dead. This was intended to be picked up in the sequel “Lost Girls,” which was scripted, but never made. The Wildstorm comic’s mini-series “The Lost Boys: Reign of the Frogs,” helps bridge the 20 year gap between films. It’s implied that David not only survived the impaling, but went on to create Shane, the head vampire in Lost Boys: The Tribe.

“Holy shit! It’s the attack of Eddie Munster!”

So all in all what do we have? A delightful and memorable vampire romp right out of the 80’s.

“You’re chasing that girl aren’t you? Come on admit it. I’m at the mercy of your sex glands, bud.”

Let me take a brief moment to apologize. I had a short interview with Corey Feldman scheduled for this feature about his experiences on the film and his most memorable moments during filming. But due to his new book releasing and him touring to promote it, the chat got pushed back to some time in November. But don’t worry, it is coming and will be added to the article as soon as it happens.

“Death by stereo!”

The Lost Boys (1987) stars: Jason Patric (Michael Emerson), Kiefer Sutherland (David), Corey Haim (Sam Emerson), Jami Gertz (Star), Corey Feldman (Edgar Frog), Dianne Wiest (Lucy Emerson), Edward Herrmann (Max), Alex Winter (Marko), Billy Wirth (Dwayne), Jamison Newlander (Alan Frog), and Barnard Hughes (Grandpa).

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Doomsday is coming. What are you going to wear?

A look back at the Dexter Series Finale!

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Well, if you’re a fan of the Showtime series Dexter, you know it’s all over. The series finale aired on Sunday September 22. Beware there are some spoilers ahead!

There has been much debate and controversy on the way the beloved series of everyone’s favorite serial killer, ended. Let’s take a minute and go over how season 8 went down.
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Debra Morgan has completely succumbed to her guilt becoming depressed for killing LaGuerta the shocking season finale before, and has literally gone off the deep end, quitting her job at Miami Metro and joining a private investigation firm. A new serial killer is on the loose that Miami Metro has nicknamed, “The Brain Surgeon,” due to the fact he uses a bone saw to cut through the victims skull and remove the same piece of the their brains. A psychopath expert has been called in to help with the case, Evelyn Vogel. Fast forward through the captivating ensuing drama for a few episodes, and we get a surprise and find out Dexter’s old flame from last season, Hannah is back in Miami! In a nut shell, we find out the “Brain Surgeon” (Oliver Saxon) is Vogel’s son, he ends up killing his mother in front of Dexter, Deb’s private investigation firm is hot on Hannah’s trail, Deb tries to kill Dexter (ultimately saving him anyways), she rejoins Miami Metro, and is also shot in a showdown with Oliver Saxon and Dexter plans on leaving Miami with Hannah and Harrison to Argentina.

OK. Now we are caught up with most of what season 8 has to offer. In the final episode, we see a culmination of this seasons events. A hurricane is about the hit the city of Miami. Dexter gets a phone call, against Deborah’s wishes, telling him she has been shot by Saxon and is in the hospital. Dexter was already getting ready to leave with Hannah and Harrison to Argentina, when Deb’s ex-boss from the private investigation firm, Jacob Elway, finds that Hannah is trying to leave the country and goes to the airport to intercept her. Dexter spots him first and causes a diversion by telling security he had left a suspicious bag and walked away. The airport went on lockdown, detained Elway, and the flight was delayed. Dexter goes to visit Deborah in the hospital and the doctor tells him the bullet bounced around a lot but she is optimistic in Deb’s recovery. Hurricane Laura is bearing down on Miami, and since the airport is a no-go now, Dexter feeling the need to take care of the Oliver situation himself for what he has done to Deborah and to a lesser extent, Vogel, sends Hannah and Harrison on a bus to Jacksonville and promises to meet up with them. Elway finds out through his contacts that Hannah is boarding the bus, and boards himself. He attempts to arrest her on the bus, but before the bus makes its next stop, she drugs him and she is able to get off the bus and gets away to South America with Harrison.

Before Dexter is able to track down Saxon, he finds out Deb has had complications and had an aneurysm and was put on life support. As Dexter arrives at the hospital, he watches as Battista arrests Saxon, before he was able to finish Deborah off. Dexter goes to Saxon’s cell to give him a forensic test and lures Saxon to attack him, which Dexter then grabs a pen and stabs him in the neck, killing him. After reviewing the footage from the prison cell camera, both Quinn and Battista decide Dexter was acting in self-defense and he is free to go.

With the hurricane nearing Miami in full force, Dexter once again goes to the hospital to find it in disarray, with patients being shuffled around due to the ensuing storm. He goes to Deb’s room and after some thoughtful and meaningful words, unplugs her life support and takes her body to his boat unnoticed. He heads out to the ocean where no one will notice, drops her body in, and watches as she slowly sinks into oblivion. Dexter then drives his boat right into the middle of the hurricane, supposedly killing himself. His body never surfaces, everyone assuming he is dead. Hannah, at a restaurant with Harrison, reads in a newspaper that he is presumed dead. As the screen goes black, we open with the final scene in an undisclosed location and see a man unloading tree logs in a mill, from his semi. The man goes to a secluded home, not talking to anyone, and sits down at his table. It is then that we find out that the man is a bearded scraggly, Dexter.
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Being a huge fan of the series since season 1 episode 1, I feel that the series ended nicely. I didn’t want to see the happy ending that some people were, but I didn’t necessarily want to see him caught or dead either. There were some very symbolic things happening in this last episode. Dexter knew that everyone he had ever loved or cared about ended up dead. He couldn’t do that to Hannah and especially Harrison. All he had ever wanted since a child was to be like everyone else and feel something like everyone else did. Once he did, he realized that he was disastrous in the lives of the people he had cared about so dearly. So his punishment for himself was seclusion. The hurricane he drove right into at the end, I felt reflected how he felt about his life. His life ended up being a hurricane out of control, causing destruction, with no end in sight. So rather than taking the easy way out, he decided he would rather seclude himself from everyone left that he loved, in order to keep them safe from him.

dexter-1280x768While many people felt betrayed by the ending, I felt it was a great way to tie it all up. So I pose a question, how would you have ended the series? And there is a lot of talk and rumors going around of a supposed spin off. Showtime and show executives have all been quoted as saying they would like to have the Dexter name live on in some form or another, although there have been no official talks between them of such things. Yet.
Would you like there to be some kind of spin off? If so, what would the spin off be based on? Would you like to see Michael C. Hall reprise his role as Dexter once again?

The Walken Dead Shirt

Horror Comics at TFAW.com


The Lords of Salem

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The Lords of Salem is Rob Zombie’s newest endeavor. The film has been hinted at for years now, with various teaser posters and trailers popping up all over the internet. Being a huge fan of all of Zombie’s films (yes even both of his Halloween re-imaginings) I couldn’t wait for this film. It made its debut at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2012. Not being anywhere near Canada, I would have to wait until April 19, 2013, if indeed, it was playing at my local theatres due to a limited theatrical release. But I was given something by Grand Central Publishing, in March, to hold me over. A novel. So this review will cover both the Lords of Salem film and the novel.

Having read the novel, seeing the movie on opening night in the theatre, and watching the Blu-ray three times, (once with the Rob Zombie commentary) this will still be a difficult review to write, as this is a great movie that is not easily described. I will try to make it as spoiler free as possible, as I do believe this is a film that should be viewed.

Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie) is a recovering drug addict and local DJ. Struggling with sobriety and depression, she receives an anonymous gift at the radio station. A wooden box containing a vinyl record for a band that only identifies itself as “The Lords.” As a joke she decides to play the record in their “smash it or trash it” segment. Something comes over Heidi and other Salem female listeners after hearing it. What unfolds is a slow decent into madness.
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The film stars Sheri Moon Zombie (Heidi Hawthorne), Bruce Davison (Francis Matthias), Jeff Daniel Phillips (Herman “Whitey” Salvador), Judy Gleeson (Lacy Doyle), Meg Foster (Margaret Morgan), Patricia Quinn (Megan), Ken Foree (Herman Jackson), Dee Wallace (Sunny), and Andrew Prine (Reverend Jonathon Hawthorne). In my opinion an all-star cast.

Rob is a talented film maker. With a recognizable visual style all his own, he has come a long way since House of 1000 Corpses. This is the first film he has directed that he actually had full creative control over, and it shows. Like a twist combination of a Kubrick/Argento film that has hints of Rosemary’s Baby and Suspiria in it, it’s the best way I can describe it. It is a film that has divided his fan base even further, after his ambitious Halloween films.
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The Lords of Salem is completely drenched in atmosphere. Without the buckets of blood and gore Zombie has become known for, this film has very little of these things. Instead he chose to build up on the dread as we watch Heidi delve deeper into hallucinatory insanity, and he conveys this masterfully. This is a disturbing film with scenes of odd and nightmarish pieces, the hellish “mummified” priests stroking dildos comes to mind, but this effect is not just Rob Zombie’s genius behind the director’s chair. Sheri Moon Zombie, being the lead in the film, actually carries the story very well with her acting, her best performance yet. The score John 5 (Rob Zombie’s guitarist) presents, perfectly compliments the film. He stated that he wanted to make a soundtrack that wouldn’t distract the audience, but would also not easily be forgotten, and he did exactly what he set out to do.
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2012, THE LORDS OF SALEM

The acting that we get from Meg Foster, Patricia Quinn, Dee Wallace, and Judy Geeson, was nothing less than fantastic. Meg Foster playing the “lead” witch of the coven, delivers her dialogue with excellent potency. The choice to cast these older women who would normally be seen as playing nice “Grandmother” type characters was a great decision, given they do some abnormally fiendish things.
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For me the novel, written by Rob Zombie and B.K. Evenson, was a must to complete my experience, even though it was a different experience altogether, they both complemented one another strongly. While the whole of the novel was mostly akin to the film, there were some violent scenes and other small changes in the novel that didn’t make it onto celluloid. Now I love violence and gore as much as the next horror fanatic, but I don’t think most of it would’ve worked well with the film, as it would have taken away from the ambience and atmosphere that Rob had worked so hard to build throughout. It fills in some gaps that aren’t really explained in the film, but aren’t completely necessary either. For a debut novel, it was very well written. It’s classic Zombie from start to finish.

I would grade the film a B+ and the novel an A-. However, I don’t think the novel could exist without the visuals of the film.



Great Halloween Costumes for the whole family.


Movie Review : An American Ghost Story (2012)

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Also known as its original title, Revenant, the story follows struggling writer Paul Anderson (Stephen Twardokus) and his girlfriend Stella (Liesel Kopp) as they move into a house that is rumored to be haunted. Paul is hoping to write a book about the house and his paranormal experiences therein. While quiet and unassuming at first, they soon realize the stories about the house are true. Strange things begin to happen and they soon find they are not alone, something evil resides in the house with them.

With the original title being changed from Revenant to An American Ghost Story, I can’t help but feel like they are trying to cash in on the recent box office success of The Conjuring. The film seems like a mixture of Sinister, Poltergeist, and Paranormal Activity. While slow going at first, the first scare is something we’ve seen a thousand times. You all know the drill, you walk into the kitchen and a cupboard opens up on its own. Then more, and suddenly every cupboard and drawer in the kitchen is open. Throw in a chair sliding across the room and you have the start of a predictably generic ghost story.

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The entire movie felt too slow. I was constantly waiting for something to happen in between the meaningless and sometimes boring dialogue, and when it did I thought to myself, that can’t be it, it’s building toward something. There are better scares to come. I waited and I waited, and before I knew it, the end credits were rolling.

While the film played on things we’ve all seen before, I didn’t hate everything about it. There were rare scenes that I thought were great ideas, I just didn’t feel like they were executed very well. One in particular, Stella had already moved out after the kitchen scene, being overly dramatic (Liesel’s acting and her character being terrified) about her “cupboard and chair” experience, even initially knowing she was moving into a haunted house, Paul is asleep in bed and stirs from sleep to clearly find a full bodied entity under the sheet with him. As he attempts to touch the body that is laying next to him, the head clearly turns toward him. The director uses this a couple of times throughout the film. There is something menacing and terrifying about seeing the head, under a sheet, suddenly dart in the direction you are standing, knowing it is looking right at you. While I really liked this idea, and thought it was one of the better and original ideas implemented, the director overdid it. The sheet over the ghost thing got tired after the first few times, especially at the end when Paul wanders around the house trying to find the ghost by holding a sheet and randomly covering and swirling it around open spaces, until it actually comes into contact with the entity. And this is where we find out that the ghost actually has some kind of “powers” and is able to push objects and grab Paul without actually touching them.

aags-cap-3The empty dialogue and banter between characters, clearly there to add depth to the characters and make us care about their situation, I felt did not work at all and just fell flat. The acting was not strong enough to convey any genuine emotion or emphasis on their characters. Some of the best acting came from Wendy Haines, playing Sue, a former tenant of the house who Paul interviewed about her experiences in the house.

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To no surprise, the ending was about as predictable as the rest of the film, when once again we see the sheet rise out of the suitcase, after Paul finally moves out of the house.

All in all I would say this movie was quite lackluster and somewhat boring, from the generic and predictable storyline and one dimensional characters, to the acting, the score, and the execution of the director. The movie is slated for release on DVD on August 20, 2013.

My grade for this film: D



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