Dreams From The Witch House

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A gorgeous new project is in the works from our friends at Dark Regions Press, in the form of an ambitious new book entitled Dreams From The Witch House : Female Voices Of Lovecraftian Horror. The title alone sells it for me, but the impressive list of authors confirmed for this project is incredible! Including a novelette by Joyce Carol Oates, and short stories from the likes of Caitlin R Kiernan, Nancy Kilpatrick, Storm Constantine and many more, this is bound be be a top shelf collection!
Add in the bonus of original watercolor illustrations from artist Daniele Serra, and this book itself becomes an incredible work of art.
Just have a gander at the gallery below of some of his gorgeous artwork, all of which is available for purchase during the campaign!

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Deep Like the River

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Pan’s Labyrinth

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Alien

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Monsters

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Lonely

In fact it is one of the main goals of the Dreams from the Witch House indiegogo campaign to gain the funds to commission Daniele Serra to create an original painting to accompany each story, which would truly transform this book into a unique masterpiece.
The campaign is offering many great incentives for supporters of the publication, including various editions of the final book, discounted passes to CthulhuCon 2015 (!), passes to the Stanley Hotel Writer’s Retreat, and even a custom illustration from amazing artist Daniele Serra.
In addition, the publishers are still accepting submissions for inclusion in this unique volume, so if you are a female writer of Lovecraftian horror, cosmic horror or weird fiction be sure and check the rules for submissions and let your voices be heard. This would be a great project to get involved in!
Find the indiegogo campaign here to show your support, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter  for news and updates about the project as it progresses.

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Reserve your room at the Stanley Hotel Writer’s Retreat 2015!

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Dark Regions Press is hosting the chance of a lifetime for any horror fans and/or aspiring writers this year with a four day writer’s retreat at the legendary Stanley Hotel, where Stephen King was inspired to write his creepy masterpiece, The Shining. That’s right, this October 22nd-25th, the legendary hotel will be a temporary home to a gang of aspiring and inspiring horror authors in what can only be described as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Featuring some impressive guest authors like Jack Ketchum, Kealan Patrick Burke, Tom Piccirilli, and many more who will be available in various capacities depending on your needs and choice of package. Various plans of how to spend this time are available and completely up to you, whether you are interested in getting feedback from authors or would just like some isolated time alone to write in these iconic surroundings. For example, all of the packages include a tour of Room 217, but the top tier level buys you a four-hour block of undisturbed time alone in the dreadful room!

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Be aware that the registration fees do not cover your hotel stay or travel arrangements, but do include group discounts and early access for tickets to the Murder Mystery Dinner and The Shining Masquerade Ball (!), two events that seem like they are not to be missed.
The current indiegogo campaign has nearly reached it’s goal, but check it out to see the various perks available, and reserve your room now!
You can also find The Stanley Hotel Writer’s Retreat on Facebook for more information and updates over the months leading up to the event.
I know I am packing up my adult tricycle for my stay, so look out for me tearing down the halls this October!
See you there!

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Help open the Portal To Hell!

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Roddy Piper vs. Cthulhu.
Yup.
For most of you reading this, those few words should be enough to convince you to stop on over to the current indiegogo campaign for Portal To Hell and contribute a few bucks to help some creative people get this film made.
If you still need convincing, read on…

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Jack (Roddy Piper) is a simple man with simple needs. Mostly he just needs to be left alone to read his book. It’s a good book and he likes it, or at least he would if the tenants of the building he manages weren’t so damn needy themselves. And it’s not just blown fuses and clogged toilets here … no, when the building power goes out the culprit is a pair of tenants opening a portal to hell in the basement. Does this count as building maintenance? Is battling the supernatural part of Jack’s job description? Maybe not, but if Jack can’t close the portal the entire building and – let’s face it – the whole world is screwed.

Director Vivieno Caldinelli and writer Matt Watts have already secured the talents of Mr. Piper, and need our help to get this thing made!
According to the official Portal To Hell Facebook page, the Great Old One, Cthulhu himself, had a secret soft spot for Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn in Overboard and convinced the great John Carpenter to return to Lovecraft mode to write him a part in it. We’d like to think the result would be very much like Portal To Hell!!!

They promise giant monsters, tentacles, and some tough-talking ass-kicking action unlike any we have ever seen.  Drawing obvious inspiration from Lovecraft and Carpenter and “all things VHS”, these film makers have a clear love for the genre and the passion to make one crazy film. They have enlisted the help of some great producers of crazy independent genre flicks like the ABCs of Death and Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil, and also have special effects guru Steve Kostanski (Manborg) onboard.

A project this huge in scope can get great mileage from every donation, and the film makers intend to make the most kick-ass version of Portal To Hell that they can, in the eventual hopes of turning it into a full-length feature film for the ages!
They are offering an extensive list of great perks for anyone who wants to get involved in making this insane fever dream into a reality. From T-shirts and signed copies of They Live, to set visits and actual movie tentacles, these perks are unique must-haves for any respectable weirdo.
If you are interested in supporting this film, contribute to the Portal To Hell indiegogo campaign here.
You can also stay up-to-date on news for Portal To Hell on Facebook.

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Artwork by Ghoulish Gary Pullin.





The Borley Rectory returns with some great new incentives!

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Last year we learned the terrifying true story of the Borley Rectory, known as “the most haunted house in England”, when incredible artist Ashley Thorpe first set out to create a new animated documentary about the story. From the early 1900s, strange occurrences have plagued the people and haunted the grounds around what was initially the home of a series of Reverends and their families. Hauntings and strange sightings were reported there for decades, even investigated by an early ghost hunter, and the grounds on which the Borley Rectory once stood have created their own history as one of the most haunted places on earth. Please read last year’s post about The Borley Rectory for all of the details.

Since then, the team behind the Borley Rectory animated film has achieved many of their goals, beginning with a successful indiegogo campaign that secured funding for the ambitious passion project. I caught up with artist and director Ashley Thorpe to find out what is new with the project and when we can expect to see the finished film. He had some interesting things to tell us, and some new and exciting incentives for anyone that wants to help get this film made!

According to the director :
It’s a subject that seized my imagination as a child after stumbling across the legend in the Usbourne Book of Ghosts at the local Library as a kid. I think it was that moniker ‘The Most Haunted House in England’ that really struck a chord. This wasn’t just ‘a’ haunting, it was ‘THE’ haunting. And being a visualist first and foremost it was a story that was full of these wonderful gothic archetypal ghosts; the phantom Nun, the ghostly carriage and all of that wonderful material.
It was initially pitched as a very short modest local piece, kind of a found footage thing wherein the film was just going to be a collection of lost reels shot within the house during the Price occupancy. But when the Art council lost interest in that I took it away and made it something far more involved and personal. Obsessional actually. I realized that here was a complex genuine story – as much about the human need to believe in ghosts and duplicity as the supernatural – that had never really been told before, certainly on film.
Borley Rectory is essentially an animated documentary, inspired by the haunting that caught the worlds imagination during the late 1920’s. It’s going to be something quite old fashioned, black and white, very textural and stylised, with a house very much a projection of the personalities within it – and the ghosts manifestations of what may be missing from their lives. It’ll definitely be something a little different. I keep calling it an ‘ultrasound of a haunting’.

Since the initial success of the first crowd-funding campaign, several new formidable allies have joined up to help bring Mr. Thorpe’s vision to the screen. Including Reece Shearsmith, Jonathan Rigby, Nicholas Vince, Richard Strange and Sabrina Dickens among many others. They also have a great narration by Julian Sands already recorded and an original score by Steven Severin awaiting us once it is finished!

After the campaign ended last year we had a few initial delays; one due to clashing schedules – Reece was a man in demand and pretty much shot I think 3 TV series back to back so we had to wait for him to be available. But also my baby daughter was born in February so we stepped down a gear while I spent time with my family and focused on getting everything ready.

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The first shoots took place at the end of May in London and were very successful. We shot a lot of key scenes, so now while I work on the captured footage we’ve gone back on the fundraising trail to raise additional budget for the remaining shoots. It’s all going towards the facilities, equipment and costumes. Everything else we pretty much do in house. The facilities we used were fantastic but even at a great rate they’re a professional studio so cost proper money. The benefit however of using a dedicated green screen set-up is the sheer amount of time it saves me when I’m doing all the compositing; it’s clean and I don’t have to muck around too much on corrections. It’s all there, looks great and I can get on with the fun stuff.
Incredibly we made our first budget target in a week so we’ve put up a number of stretch goals the first of which being £6000. The more we raise the more time we’ll have in that studio. You’ll literally be buying us more time to sculpt this into something unique and wonderful.

The new rewards are outstanding, and should be able to entice anyone interested in helping this film move forward with some of these one-of-a-kind items.

– A limited edition illustration from artist Richard Wells.

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– Nicholas Vince, who will be portraying the Reverend Smith has offered a number of great rewards including signed Nightbreed and Hellraiser photos and two very rare Hellraiser Chatterer figures from his personal collection!

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– Director and artist Ashley Thorpe is also going to be breaking open the paintbox this time and offering a few paintings. One will be a painting of Nicholas Vince as The Chatterer Cenobite (or Kinski if the supporter prefers) which Nicholas will sign.

Artwork by Ashley Thorpe.

– Reece fans may want to look out for the prop perk wherein they can own the glasses his character wore as journalist V C Wall. They’re genuine 1920 era spectacles.

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– A hand made doll of the Phantom Nun by Debz Demented Dolls.

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– A phone call from the Warlock himself, Julian Sands!

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– A signed and numbered Clive Barker print ‘Death’s Womb’ from Century Guild that was donated to the campaign by Seraphim productions.

Deaths WombAccording to director Ashley Thorpe :
I’ve long been a huge fan of Clive Barker. His work and encouragement over the years not only gave me the belief in myself to even attempt to be a film maker / artist but almost certainly led to me to write for Fangoria. So this support means a great deal to me personally. I discovered actually this week via Mark at Seraphim that Clive has a number of my animations in his DVD collection which is insane quite frankly!

It’s very exciting. The horror community has really come out and supported us. We’ve had kind words from Neil Gaiman, Mick Garris and the fantastic Soska twins. There seems to be a whirlwind of excitement now about this project and I’m sat in the middle of it wondering if it’s all real. I’m definitely not in Kansas anymore.

To learn more about how you can get your hands on one of these great perks, be sure and check out the indiegogo campaign for the Borley Rectory and show your support for this very creative and exciting project!

SOSKA Borley

 


Help discover Found Footage 3D!

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Two trends that are widely regarded as overused gimmicks are coming together at last, in a valiant effort to unite them for the good of movie fans everywhere.
Found Footage 3D intends to be that singular film which transforms the bad into good, and finds a way to use these techniques as useful ways to tell a story rather than the tired gimmicks they have become. The innovative film has been completely shot, and in the editing process they discovered that the budget for their effects was double what they thought it would be for some tricky effects shots.
While director Steven Degennaro is adamant on his use of mostly practical effects during the shooting of the film, it turns out that at least one shot required much more in post-production. Check out his reasonable plea in the very amusing video below :

This film comes from some serious horror fans, who even went so far as to enlist the assistance of a co-creator of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Kim Henkel. According to the film-makers this project is meant to be the Scream of the “found footage” genre, reshaping the familiar elements into something new and exciting. According to their indiegogo campaign :

You may remember the same thing happening to slasher movies in the late 80s and early 90s. So when Scream came along, horror fans were ready for a smart movie that poked fun at the worst of the genre while exemplifying the best of it. It was funny, clever, and scary in equal measure, and it’s one of my absolute favorite horror movies.

Which is why, 20 years later, I’m making Found Footage 3D.

FF3D is about a group of filmmakers who go to a cabin in the woods to shoot “the first 3D found-footage horror movie”, but find themselves IN a found-footage horror movie when the evil entity from their film escapes into their behind-the-scenes footage.

Like Scream, the characters know all of the rules, tricks, and clichés of the genre. Like Scream, it turns those clichés on their heads and exposes many of the genre’s recent efforts for what they are: cynical cash grabs by clueless amateurs and/or Hollywood suits with dollar signs in their eyes. And, like Scream, FF3D is not just funny—it’s scary as hell.

Make no mistake—this is a horror movie, not a spoof.

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Finding new and engaging ways of using these techniques in the face of the backlash these two genres seem to encompass seems to be the risky proposition here. Director Steven Degennaro took to reddit yesterday to answer any questions, and we were able to learn a little more about the film and the ideas behind it. For example, in response to the question of the current state of animosity in these genres and why he chose to combine them, he says :

3D and found footage are actual a more natural fit for than even I realized when I started to write this script. Because we are making a movie where the camera actually exists inside the world of the story, we get to play with 3D in a way that no one has ever really done before. If we want something to appear in one eye, but not the other, we can do that. If we want footage on a computer monitor that someone is filming to appear in 3D to the audience instead of just a flat screen, we can do that do. And we can have things move from one window on a computer screen into another window by coming into and out of the plane of the monitor. There are lots of things like that that I’ve had a ton of fun playing around with.

At the same time, the nature of found footage means that we used consumer-grade camcorders to shoot the movie. One of the qualities that these cameras have is really deep focus, meaning that we were able to compose shots with lots of layers of depth in 3D. In a more traditional movie, the thing you want the audience to look at is in focus and the rest of the shot is blurry, which means that even if you (as an audience member) wanted to, you couldn’t look at the background, or a tree in front of the characters. With our movie, there’s a much more realistic sense of depth because your eyes can choose to focus anywhere on the screen (for the most part). It’s much more like real life, which makes it perfect for found footage, which is supposed to be immersive and real.

Another interesting answer from the director came in response to the question of how he thinks his film separates itself from the current glut of found footage and/or 3D films :

Mostly by telling a compelling story with quality acting. There are a whole bunch of people who think that because they own a cell phone and have a couple of friends, that makes them a filmmaker. They think that found footage is easy. It’s not. I’ve made 4 or 5 short films now, and worked on hundreds of movies in my career as a sound guy, and I can say pretty confidently that making a found footage movie is actually a lot more difficult than making a “regular” movie in a lot of ways.

So even though this is my first feature, I’ve been in this business for almost a decade, and I’ve been writing scripts for longer than that. I spend two years working on this script and months finding the perfect actors. Our budget is considerably higher than your average found footage movie, but still lower than your average indie horror flick. So we get the best of both worlds, meaning that rather than blowing our entire budget on lighting and Red cameras and all the other things that are required to make a low-budget move look professional, we instead were able to spend that money on the things that actual matter to making a movie better: hiring the right cast and crew to tell a really compelling story.

The other thing we have going for us in the “meta” angle. Our movie is funny and smart in how it approaches the tropes and cliches of found footage and skewers the glut of derivative crapfests that have been released in the last few years, while at the same time telling a story that is truly scary. So if you love found footage movies, then you’ll love our film. And if you think most found footage movies are stupid, you’ll still love our movie.

Or so we hope, anyway. The audience will ultimately have to decide for themselves.

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The film’s indiegogo campaign goes on for a few more days, until November 11th, so get in there and show your support for an independent film project from some creative people who are dedicated to bringing you a new and uniquely horrifying experience!
They have tons of great rewards up for grabs, including signed props, T-shirts, original Texas Chainsaw merchandise from the private collection of Kim Henkle, and even a bloody chunk of flesh and bone from one of the film’s more gruesome deaths!
Support their indiegogo campaign here, and learn more on the official Found Footage 3D website.

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Help Dario Argento and Iggy Pop bring us The Sandman!

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The master of Italian horror Dario Argento is teaming up with one of the world’s most energetic punk icons Iggy Pop in an attempt to darken the holidays with horror. In an effort to keep his next film as pure as possible (maybe due to studio intrusion on his previous effort, the lackluster Dracula 3D) Mr. Argento has started a crowd-funding campaign for this new project.
According to the pitch, this crowd-funded film will be a tribute to the films of Argento and his entire career, a chance to put a juicy horrific cherry on top of a long and storied career. Casting Iggy Pop in the lead role is just the chocolate sauce on top of the cherry.
The Sandman is based on a German short story dating back to 1816, originally told by author E.T.A. Hoffman. According to this legend, The Sandman was someone who stole the eyes of any children that wouldn’t just close them and go to sleep, then he’d go feed them to his hungry children on the moon.
It sounds like a great role for Iggy Pop, running around snatching out the eyeballs of children. Bring in the passionate direction of Dario Argento, and it begins to shape up as a film any horror fan definitely would like to see. The director says he is “tired of Christmas movies showing goodness. Beauty, snowflakes, sleds pulled by reindeer. I’m tired of these things. I’d rather have a Christmas movie where there is also strength, violence, horror, and this is what I am going to do.”

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Check out the indiegogo campaign for the film here for some great perks including T-shirts, posters, signed Iggy Pop action figures (!), all the way up to a spot as an extra on the film and much more.
In fact even the smallest contribution of 5$ will get everyone a subscription to the unique new streaming service Fandor.com, which features thousands of horror classics, including several Argento films.
And if you need more convincing, check out the video below and try not to get hypnotized by the words of Mr. Pop, who is destined to play The Sandman in this future holiday classic.



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