• Fango Flashback: “WITCHERY”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-05 17:19:03 by Bekah McKendry

    We all have one of those movies—a flick you saw in the past that you can’t remember the name of, or who is in it, or even what it’s about…you can only remember one scene. So you incessantly describe the scene to every horror fan you meet, in hopes that somebody will remember the film’s title so this lone moment stops slowly drilling a deep and bloody hole into your brain.

    For years, I had one such memory stuck in my head. I could only recall this bit where an old woman had her lips sewn shut. She was then strung up inside a lit fireplace and melted. I described this scene endlessly to anyone who would listen. I remembered watching it on my parents’ giant console TV, so it must have been a VHS rental from the late 1980s—but that’s all I could ever remember.

    I was beginning to think I had dreamed the whole thing and just had a really twisted imagination until finally…at San Diego Comic-Con, a fan finally plugged the hole in my brain. Comic-Con was doing this huge promotion for the David Hasselhoff Comedy Central Roast and had been handing out these Hasselhoff masks (I’m not kidding about this) to attendees. Thousands of David Hasselhoffs were walking around Comic-Con. A horror fan came over to the FANGORIA booth with his Hoff mask on, and I asked, “Is The Hoff into horror?” The fan replied, “Well, he was in WITCHERY.” With that single phrase, a mental spark ignited the memory in my brain.

    Yes, WITCHERY! I remembered now! That scene was from WITCHERY! My memory had been recovered, though I think I may have forgotten basic algebra in the process. With that spark, I recalled a few other details about the flick: Linda Blair was also in it, they were on an island and there was a scene of demon rape. Feeling there were some big gaps, I ordered my own copy of WITCHERY as soon as I got back to the hotel room that night, and when I finally got home from San Diego, it was waiting on my doorstep.

    This 1988 flick was produced by legendary Italian exploitation god Joe D’Amato, and although it was released in the U.S. under the WITCHERY name, the screen titles read WITCHCRAFT: EVIL ENCOUNTERS. And if that wasn’t confusing enough, the film was actually made as the fourth installment of the LA CASA series, with part three an unofficial sequel to the EVIL DEAD series, which means this film is a.k.a. EVIL DEAD 4 and has also been titled GHOST HOUSE 2! My head hurts…

    WITCHERY (for the purposes of this article) is set on a small island about 50 miles off Boston. Long ago, many witches were put to death on the island. One in particular was pregnant and chose to take her own life by jumping out a window instead of being toasted on a stake. Thus, the island and its hotel are forever haunted.

    Flash-forward to the modern day…well, the height of the 1980s. Gary (a post-KNIGHT RIDER Hasselhoff) and his weird virgin friend Linda (Catherine Hickland) are camping out in the deserted hotel. Linda is studying witchcraft; Gary is there to photograph the ghostly lights and to convince her in an awkwardly sexy manner that he has a knight that needs riding (I had to work in a reference somewhere). But she resists the Hoff’s unbuttoned shirts and maintains her purity.

    Then enter the Brooks family, who are interested in buying the hotel and includes the bitchy family matriarch, the lecherous dad, the pregnant daughter (Blair) and the young son Tommy, plus a realtor and a renovator in tow. The two parties discover each other just as a crazy storm breaks out and carries their boat away, making it impossible for anyone to leave for the night. Well, gang, I guess we’ll just have to spend the night in this creepy house where a pregnant witch killed herself and still comes back to take the souls of the living! This villainess is joined by a few demonic minions to help her maintain the hotel as a causeway to hell. The satanic group works to get the “elements” into place which will allow the witch to return to Earth by taking over a new human form. Oh, which of our bunch will she choose to possess?

    One by one, the witch starts picking off our group to help fulfill the needed “elements.” Mama Brooks gets her lips sewn shut and melted in the fireplace (ahhh, the scene), the realtor is burned on an upside-down cross, and so on and so on. Linda gets raped by a demon, which fulfills the final needed element of virgin blood. And so the transformation can take place. I won’t blow the not-so-twisted “twist” at the end, but I will say that Blair ends up in a white nightgown with gruesome make-up and teased out hair looking almost identical to her role in THE EXORCIST. This happened a few times in the actress’ ’80s career, a little subgenre I like to call “Blairsploitation.” So yes, Blair ends up in her EXORCIST outfit, but I’m not blowing the ending too much. It’s clearly the film’s central gimmick, considering it’s on the box cover and in the trailer.

    Before I rewatched WITCHERY, I remembered it as being fairly good. Parts of my memory were flawed, but the movie does have some appeal. I have to say it really is a yin-and-yang situation: There are times I thought Fabrizio Laurenti’s direction was amazingly trite, with rack focuses on people’s shocked faces during suspenseful scenes. All that was missing was the “duh duh dun!” music. But at other times there are some very cool shots, including some filmed on a wheelchair-cam and great scenic views of the island and sea. At times, the gore looks ridiculously fake, as in the aforementioned lip-sewing scene and a moment of fetus-eating, but other gags (like the melting body) look great.

    Even the acting offers high and lows. Hickland (who, by the way, was the Hoff’s wife in real life at the time) as the virginal Linda has a strange speech pattern that often makes it sound like she’s drunk. Michael Manchester, as Tommy, also seems inebriated in the annoying monotone way he keeps repeating “I love Jane” (his big sis), while the realtor (who looks about 15) also delivers a really bad performance. Surprisingly, Hasselhoff, though his presence is campy, carries the role and movie rather well. And the plot itself is pretty interesting, and kept me watching and rewatching.

    I must also point out that, seen today, WITCHERY is a total flashback to the 1980s with loads of popped collars, horribly gaudy Bill Cosby-style sweaters, enormously teased bangs and shoulder pads so high I thought Blair was just going to tackle the witch. But this turned out to be a fun little film. WITCHERY was released to DVD in 2006 by Shriek Show, and can purchased on Amazon for around $6. I highly recommend checking out this fun D’Amato classic!

    {jcomments on}

    Read more »
  • “SLAVIS” (E-Book Review)

    Originally posted on 2010-09-05 17:11:48 by Jorge Solis

    SLAVIS, an e-book by author and screenwriter Garry Charles (pictured) that hits the web next week, is an enigmatic mystery involving clashing personalities and horrific supernatural beings. It involves a group of strangers who inadvertently find themselves confronting the end of the world, contending with an army of flesheating monsters.

    Burnt-out detective Kyle Harrison has miserably alienated everyone around him, while being harshly cynical toward himself. His ex-wife was viciously murdered, along with her children and new husband, and he can’t stop agonizing over her brutal murder, even though it’s not his case. This doesn’t have to be his problem, but when he discovers her name mentioned in a paranoid madman’s notebook, he is compelled to solve the puzzle.

    Following loose leads, Harrison hastily turns to a pair of animal experts, Megan Grant and Peter Booth. Though he needs their assistance, Harrison still considers them superfluous to his pursuit. The three have no idea what kind of danger lurks in the darkness, and they are drawn ever closer to a deadly threat—but Harrison continues to blindly follow his thirst for revenge.

    So much attention is paid to Harrison that the secondary characters do not feel well-defined. They come to seem unnecessary, even uninteresting. Harrison also ends up reuniting with his mistress, Kaci Keyser, but that relationship is never fully explored, leaving one to question how her character is supposed to advance the plot. Fortunately, things improve when the focus falls on the antagonistic conflicts between Harrison and Booth. The latter is protective of Megan, but feels mocked and outsmarted by Harrison. The rivalry between the two antiheroes is very amusing, as they both compete to be the bigger jerk.

    The action escalates as the group attempts to understand what their enemy hungers for. The Slavis are a lethal breed of immortals with a devilish appetite, digesting their victims and use their flesh as suits to walk the Earth. What they haven’t ingested becomes reanimated, resulting in some horribly disfigured beings. Their host will absolutely stop at nothing until the ultimate sacrifice is completed. Charles doesn’t hold back on the violence and terror of the creature attacks, and he’s able to keep the frights coming till the climatic plot twist. Chapters 18-19 pulse with tension as the group encounters the beasts at a crime scene, and bloody carnage ensues as Booth witnesses the gruesome slaughter of an entire police force.

    SLAVIS is a monsterfest mixed with a police procedural, and Charles crafts an enjoyable thrill ride into the supernatural. It will be downloadable beginning September 10 at his official website, where you can find other updates and info on his work.

    {jcomments on}


    Read more »
  • Fango Flashback: “THE SENTINEL”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-04 15:30:10 by Tim Janson

    THE EXORCIST spawned dozens of films dealing with devils, demons or Satanic cults in the 1970s, and one of the best but most underappreciated of those films was 1977’s THE SENTINEL. Directed by DEATH WISH’s Michael Winner, it opens with a young model, Alison Parker (Cristina Raines), moving into an old New York brownstone apartment whose only other tenant is a blind priest (John Carradine) who spends his days staring out his window.

    Not long after moving in, Alison begins experiencing strange phenomena—weird sounds coming from the supposedly empty apartment above, physical illness and dreams that flash back to her traumatic failed suicide attempt. It appears as if the building isn’t quite as uninhabited as she believed, as Alison meets several bizarre neighbors. Her boyfriend (Chris Sarandon) assures her everything is OK…just enough for you to know he’s up to no good.

    Alison finds out that she didn’t choose the apartment as much as it chose her. The apartment is in reality a gateway to hell, and the blind priest is the guardian who keeps the demons from escaping. But his time as Sentinel has come to and end and a new successor must be found, and it has to be a person who has attempted suicide—Alison! The other residents turn out to be demons that can only stop Alison by driving her to take her own life. The story climaxes in a march through hell itself for Alison’s life and soul.

    THE SENTINEL sparked controversy for its use of people with genuine physical deformities, rather than relying on makeup alone. While this approach may have been exploitative, it undeniably results in powerful, lingering images. The film features one of the great jump-out-of-your-seat moments in horror-movie history when Alison goes exploring the noises coming from another part of the house; in fact, this scene made Bravo’s list of THE 100 Scariest Movie Moments.

    What sets THE SENTINEL apart from so many other films of its ilk is its outstanding supporting cast that features several veteran and up-and-coming actors, including Carradine, Ava Gardner, Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, Jose Ferrer, Eli Wallach, Jerry Orbach, Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum and Beverly D’Angelo (who provides one of the more memorable scenes). The weakest link in the cast is actually its female lead, Raines. In her mid-20s at the time, she didn’t have the chops to pull off what should have been a stronger female lead. This was at the height of the Women’s Liberation movement; Alison is independent, earning her own living and wanting her own apartment, but Raines plays the role too timidly. Fortunately, the fine supporting ensemble helps carry her, including Meredith, who plays another seemingly amiable tenant who hides his true malevolence.

    THE SENTINEL shows its age in its fashions and styles of the day, especially the ’70s-porn-star mustaches on many of the male characters, but its genuine chills and heart-thumping atmosphere have lost none of their potency. While it’s not in the same class as the best devil-themed films of the era, it’s certainly better than most with its terrifying imagery and superb cast.

    {jcomments on}


    Read more »
  • Monsters of Art

    Originally posted on 2010-09-04 15:23:21 by Freddie Young

    Scott Jackson is a talented artist who is truly inspired by the world of horror. His website, MonstermanGraphic.com, showcases the work he has done for several bands and musicians, such as Kiss and Megadeth, along with the custom artwork and logo designs he’s done for many publications. Jackson also runs The Monster Store, where he sells T-shirts sporting his designs as well as incredible posters depicting many horror icons. In this interview, he discusses when art changed from a hobby to a career, the origins of both his websites and other ventures and what his future holds.

    FANGORIA: Your artwork is incredible. Can you tell us when you first got the itch?

    SCOTT JACKSON: Thank you. As far back as 3 years old, you’d find me doodling on just about anything I could get my hands on. Especially with cartoon characters, growing into the comic heroes. With only a child’s skill, I gave most of them square heads—but made damn sure Superman had the trademark curlicue on his brow. I enjoyed the attention from entertaining people with these scrawlings, and ultimately got better at it.

    FANG: When did you realize that art was more than a hobby, and you wanted to take it professionally?

    JACKSON: I tried many different hobbies, usually entertaining folks—doing magic shows, screening horror movies in my garage, singing in a band…although they all came to the conclusion that I could draw better than sing! In junior high, I started hand-drawing hot-rod/hippie-culture posters in trade for lunch money. That was probably the first incarnation. While still in my teens, my “big break” was a $25 payment for a gig poster created for a rock band named Saffire.

    Shortly thereafter, many local bands in the area were hiring me for T-shirt and poster art. By college, I had already been commissioned for album covers by GWAR producer Ron Goudie for Numskull and Montrose’s Ronnie Montrose for a band he produced called Wrath. It was just happening, without much thought or choice. I decided at that time that I wanted to do album covers and band art for a living, and moved from Wisconsin to the west Coast.

    FANG: Who are your inspirations?

    JACKSON: Among them are Frank Frazetta, Richard Corben, Berni Wrightson, Robert Crumb, Basil Gogos, Jack Kirby, Marie Severin, Graham Ingles, Charles White III, Basil Wolverton, Wally Wood, Bill Elder…EC and 1970s underground comix, CREEPY, EERIE, WEREWOLF BY NIGHT, TOMB OF DRACULA, HOUSE OF SECRETS, MAD magazine…and Wacky Packages. Mix that with old movie posters, album covers from the ’70s and ’80s, and this is what comes out.

    FANG: Tell us about the origins of MonstermanGraphic.com.

    JACKSON: Having moderate success with the Scott Jackson Studio for many years, creating 100 or so covers for ROCK ’N’ ROLL COMICS in the ’90s, I turned back to my early childhood love of horror movies and created the three-part HEAVY METAL MONSTERS comics anthology. About five or six years ago, I released a trading-card set through Diamond Comics titled MONSTER MASTERPIECES: THE PAINTED HISTORY OF THE HORROR FILM, doing cover-style illustrations based on 50 of the greatest horror movies of all time. Volume one had a good run, into second printings.

    It was a little over four years ago, after a chance meeting with Ari Lehman—Jason Voorhees from the first FRIDAY THE 13TH—that I decided to try a new studio name and website. Ari brought me to my first horror convention, and at that event I was commissioned by none other than Tom Savini, The Lurking Corpses, and the Dark Carnival Film Festival. Soon after, it was VAMPIRA: THE MOVIE art, Texas Fearfest, Monster-Mania website design and so on. Monsterman is definitely my calling.

    FANG: How long does it usually take for you to complete a piece of artwork?

    JACKSON: Three days to three weeks, depending on the complexity. I usually ask my clients for about a month to play it safe.

    FANG: You’ve done artwork for legendary bands like Kiss, Megadeth, Pink Floyd and many others. How did those deals come about? Did they come to you, or did you go to them?

    JACKSON: My art has been either directly hired or featured by those bands as a result from my work with ROCK ’N’ ROLL COMICS. In the case of Megadeth, as told to me, a young fan named Eddie Parker was backstage at a show, intent on getting his comic book autographed, but instead it was snatched by one of the band members. I shortly thereafter was contacted by Megadeth’s management for a T-shirt commission. Kiss had been involved with and dictated much of the three-part HARD ROCK comic series, and those covers were included in the leather-bound KISSTORY book. Pink Floyd’s official fan club approached our booth at San Diego Comic-Con requesting copies of the five-part “Pink Floyd Experience” series…and about a month later, I discovered a layout of the comics and cover art included in their SHINE ON boxed set.

    So I guess in each case, it was their choosing. It has been great to meet and receive compliments from the likes of Alice Cooper, Geoff Tate of Queensryche, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Glenn Danzig, Kirk Hammet of Metallica and Frank Zappa, among others, about the comics. Many of them I have signed, and I’m very grateful to in some way touch those artists who inspired me along the way.

    FANG: You also founded Chicago’s annual heavy metal conference, Metal Mergence, as well as the Annual Halloween Art Exhibit. Can you tell us about those ventures?

    JACKSON: OK, let’s see…a love for all three genres—horror, metal and Halloween—initially inspired these happenings, but you could say they were born more from desperation. As a commercial/comic-book artist moving to Chicago from the West Coast, I didn’t really fit into the fine art scene so predominant in that area, and having minimal or no connections to the music scene whatsoever, it spurred me on to create an event that would not only advertise my own work, but speed up the process of meeting who I needed to connect to. The Annual Halloween Art Exhibit started meagerly in a little studio, and it’s now in its 12th year and has been hosted everywhere from TransWorld’s Haunted Attractions Show to some of the most reputable galleries, featuring over 65 artists from around the country.

    Metal Mergence began as a whim to gather music professionals in the heavy metal industry, kinda like a mini-NAMM show), and it’s now in its fourth year, getting response from national labels and bands. This is all just so amazing to me, and I’m extremely grateful for all the support and love from the friends, artists, bands and sponsors who have seen it through.

    FANG: Social networking has become the new method of self-promotion. How have MySpace and Facebook helped you and your artwork?

    JACKSON: Yes, yes…Facebook and MySpace can never be underestimated as great promotional tools. I use them both in the capacity that they drive potential customers to my website, and in many cases act as mini-versions of the site itself. Both of them have helped out immeasurably.

    FANG: Have you ever considered doing animation? Your art would really kill as a cartoon.

    JACKSON: Thank you. Yes, I’ve always dreamed of seeing one of my paintings animated—although I know myself well enough that I simply don’t have the patience to redraw frames as an animator does [laughs]. The focus of my craft has been to make one overall statement for the story or image, and that’s why I love doing cover work so much.

    FANG: What is the future for Scott Jackson and MonstermanGraphic.com?

    JACKSON: I’m currently enjoying the latest requests for DVD and CD art, along with website design. The future is to pursue my on-line Monster Store, continue building the events I’ve created and finish out the Monster Masterpieces, which will be all compiled into book form. As long as folks are diggin’ the work, I’m happy to contribute to the genre that has given me so much pleasure while connecting with fans at the conventions. Retiring as an art teacher couldn’t make me happier.

    FANG: Do you have any advice for potential artists out there who want to create a brand name for themselves?

    JACKSON: 1. Decide exactly what it is that you want to offer or work for. 2. Pay attention to the reactions you’re getting from your work. 3. Be flexible in your approach to things. If something isn’t working, try something else. 4. Find those artists you like who are successful, and model yourself after them…they must be doing something right. 5. If you can’t get hired immediately, start your own thing.

    Check out Jackson’s work on-line at Monsterman Graphic, The Monster Store, MySpace and Facebook.

    {jcomments on}


    Read more »
  • “SO HORROR-BLE” (Comic Review)

    Originally posted on 2010-09-04 15:14:35 by Jorge Solis

    SO BUTTONS PRESENTS: SO HORROR-BLE, from Alchemy Comix, is a quirky collection of short stories covering paranoia, night-walkers and the zombie apocalypse. Equally scary and funny, these fast-paced tales of terror are surefire bits of entertainment.

    The first entry, “In Need of a Hand,” delivers out-of-the-ordinary insights about the parallels between relationships and decomposition. At a diner, the narrator recounts his recent road trip to Santa Barbara. His lovely relationship with Lara starts out wonderful until they end up at a sunny beach, where events take a drastic turn for the worst. When they stumble upon a dead body lying on the shore, mistrust and tension kick in to the max. The decaying carcass brings out the worst in the two lovebirds, who accuse each other of ruining their romance.

    In the second entry, “In the Old Fashioned Way,” a dismayed reporter analyzes the recent phenomenon of vampires demanding equal civil rights. Why are the bloodsuckers perceived as heroes in this universe? Because the unwanted dregs of society are seen as a solution to their food intake. The reporter must decide if he should expose the conspiracy or become a hated enemy to the vampire clan.

    The best of the collection, “In the Head, Please!” is a unique twist on the zombie genre. Insanity has just taken command of Morty’s mind. Past memories are clashing with the present ones, distorting his perception—this is what happens when someone becomes undead. The victim loses control of their body, but the mind is still alive, helplessly watching as their walking corpse feeds on others.

    The last tale is the hilarious “In the Heat of Battle,” which is recommended for movie enthusiasts. In this story, a homeless bum is playing chess with a slow-thinking zombie. While playing, the vagrant, who also happens to be a film fanatic, debates the winners of the 2010 Academy Awards. This guy incessantly discusses each film, from THE HURT LOCKER to THE BLIND SIDE, while the ghoul struggles to move his chess pieces.

    The cover, by artist Danny Hellman, is a spot-on and colorful homage to EC Comics. The mishmash of artwork inside ranges from cartoonish, by T.J. Kirsch, to hyperrealism, by David Beyer Jr. Each narrative sprang from the talented mind of Jonathan Baylis, who was an associate editor at Topps Comics—and some of them, especially “In the Head, Please!” have enough potential to be expanded into features.

    SO HORROR-BLE is a fun-filled anthology that will leave you wanting more, its variety of approaches delivering both shocks and laughs. This comic will officially premiere at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD the weekend of September 10-12; you can also pre-order it from the official website.

    {jcomments on}


    Read more »

    Originally posted on 2010-09-04 15:10:56 by Bekah McKendry

    FANGORIA has a few copies of THE ROCK: ED WOOD OF THE 21ST CENTURY to give out to a few lucky fans. The double-DVD set focuses on David “The Rock” Nelson, a filmmaker who became known for directing low-budget, schlocky but fun horror films during the 1990s.

    This release from November Fire Recordings includes a documentary on Nelson, two of his full-length films and tons of other special features. To enter, send an e-mail to rebekah@fangoria.com and be sure to type “THE ROCK” in the subject line. Please include the following:


    E-mail Address

    Mailing Address


    And let us know if you would like to receive the FANGORIA weekly e-mail newsletter, which brings you the latest in horror news and Fango events. Good luck!

    {jcomments on}


    Read more »
  • New “DEVIL” clip

    Originally posted on 2010-09-03 21:19:49 by Samuel Zimmerman

    A brand new clip from DEVIL popped up today, hit the jump to find out what bit her..

    The film, produced by M. Night Shyamalan and directed by John Erick and Drew Dowdle (QUARANTINE) sees a group of strangers trapped in an elevator- only one of them just may be the as evil as they come. Check out FANGORIA #297 (on sale this month) for our preview of the film and keep an eye out for an exclusive interview with star Bokeem Woodbine right here on FANGORIA.com.

    DEVIL hits theaters September 17. 

    {jcomments on}

    Read more »
  • New “ATOMIC BRAIN INVASION” pics, premiere details

    Originally posted on 2010-09-03 20:28:28 by

    The ATOMIC BRAIN INVASION is getting closer! And New England director Richard Griffin sent along a few exclusive new photos from his sci-fi/horror/drive-in homage, to go with info on the movie’s world premiere next weekend.

    Written by Griffin and Guy Benoit and produced by Ted Marr, ATOMIC BRAIN INVASION is set in the village of New Shoreham, where evil cerebrum creatures arrive to kidnap Elvis Presley (Brandon Luis Aponte), who’s in town for a concert. Can a group of local teens (Sarah Nicklin, David Lavallee, Jr., Daniel Lee White, Colin Carlton and Michael Reed) and the local grease monkey (Rich Tretheway) stop them? Find out when the flick premieres next Friday-Saturday, September 10-11 at Foxboro, MA’s Orpheum Theater Foxboro (1 School Street), with screenings at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. both days. Griffin and his cast and crew will be on hand to introduce the shows. Watch the ATOMIC BRAIN trailer below the photos; for more info on this and other productions of Griffin and Marr’s Scorpio Film Releasing, check out the company’s official website, and see ATOMIC BRAIN INVASION’s Facebook page here.

    {jcomments on}


    Read more »
  • Ridley Scott talks “ALIEN” prequels

    Originally posted on 2010-09-03 20:23:10 by Samuel Zimmerman

    Everyone is anxious to see just what Ridley Scott will do with his return to the ALIEN franchise, so while not terribly detailed, this batch of quotes is pretty interesting, especially since it looks like he’s trying to best James Cameron’s sequel. Hit the jump for what he had to say..

    Scott spoke to The Independent about his entire career, and this excerpt towards the end is what deals directly with the upcoming ALIEN films:

    “The anticipation for his next project is building to fever pitch: it will be a two-part prequel to Alien, shot in 3D. Scott was never asked to make a sequel to ALIEN; that honour went to James Cameron, before a further two sequels and two ALIEN VS PREDATOR spin-offs milked the franchise dry. But with the Lost co-creator Damon Lindleof polishing the first prequel’s script, you can sense the competitor in Scott, desperate to put his stamp back on the film series that launched him. ‘Jim’s raised the bar and I’ve got to jump to it,’ he says, in a friendly jibe at Cameron. ‘He’s not going to get away with it.’

    “Set 30 years before the 1979 original, so with no room for Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, the prequels will explore the origins of the deadly aliens. ‘The film will be really tough, really nasty,’ he notes. ‘It’s the dark side of the moon. We are talking about gods and engineers. Engineers of space. And were the aliens designed as a form of biological warfare? Or biology that would go in and clean up a planet?’ 

    I love Ridley Scott as a filmmaker and when he’s at the top of his game, it’s incredible. I also can’t see a reason he would want to cheaply return to ALIEN, it’s not as if he’s in a crappy position right now, so let’s hope he’s going at this with tenacity and actually makes some good films. 

    {jcomments on}

    Read more »
  • Vote for “PIRANHA 3D” sequel victims!

    Originally posted on 2010-09-03 20:00:27 by

    Dimension Films’ announcement that there would be a sequel to PIRANHA 3D came before the movie took a dive at the box office, but apparently the company is still intent on making it. And it’ll be interactive in ways that go beyond the 3-D visuals.

    According to an item in today’s New York Post, there will be an on-line contest in which fans can vote on which celebrity they’d like to see devoured or otherwise dispatched in PIRANHA 3D II. This is apparently in response to favorable audience reaction to the graphic demise of Jerry O’Connell’s sleazy video-producer character (his most valued organ gets eaten in your face), whose persona is close enough to that of GIRLS GONE WILD impresario Joe Francis that Francis threatened to sic his legal piranhas on the producers. Apparently, Dimension expects lots of votes for assorted castmembers from JERSEY SHORE and the REAL HOUSEWIVES shows. Sounds like the makings of a bloody Situation! We’ll keep you posted on where you’ll be able to vote.

    {jcomments on}


    Read more »
  • Terrifyingly Gnarly: Wes Craven, Week 2: “CHILLER”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-03 19:30:02 by Samuel Zimmerman

    Quite recently, a blog went up on FANGORIA taking a handful of legendary horror directors to task for essentially riding the waves of their legacy and failing to continuously and contemporarily put out excellent work. No doubt, it’s an interesting theory worth debating and investigating. However, in my eyes, its author made one fatal mistake (and no, it wasn’t that confrontational opening line—although that was slightly devoid of taste). Nick sought to claim that Wes Craven neither is, nor ever was, great. I’m under the belief that no matter how you feel about many of his films, that’s simply a falsehood. So with seven weeks until the filmmaker’s latest, MY SOUL TO TAKE, hits theaters, I’ve decided to look at one of his movies a week (excluding the landmarks like LAST HOUSE, NIGHTMARE and SCREAM) to showcase that even during misfires and his lesser praised works, Craven displays talent, chops and incredible imagination (see last week’s entry). Read on for week two: my examination of his made-for-television CHILLER.

    I had taken a bit of a gamble on this week’s piece, choosing a film I was wholly unfamiliar with in Craven’s oeuvre. I hoped it wouldn’t be one I came out hating on the other side, failing to see the positives of his contribution to, especially considering it’s a film made specifically for television and one he isn’t credited with writing. CHILLER is another probe of the potential horrors of our own technological and scientific progression as a society and especially how that may interfere with the natural or spiritual course of things. In the film, wealthy company man Miles Creighton (THE WARRIORS’ Michael Beck) is the victim of a terrible accident. and due to the lack of sufficient medical procedures at the time, is unable to be revived. Miles’ mother, sick with grief, opts to cryogenically freeze her son until a time when medicine has caught up to his ailment. Ten years later, when a malfunction causes Miles’ chamber to thaw out, Doctors Stricklin and Collier are successfully able to return the man to the land of the living, albeit as we come to find out, without his soul.

    I’ve owned a very low-quality pan and scan version of the film for many years now, so when it was time to actually see CHILLER, it was initially hard to settle into the film. Through no fault of the filmmakers, it was visually dark, the audio was often muddled and the colors were certainly not as they were meant to be. When revisiting something of a more ridiculous nature, all of these qualities can add to the fun, but CHILLER is a bit of a serious and subdued thriller, which makes the traits of a god-awful transfer more of a hindrance. Beck’s creepfest of a performance amongst other strong points, though, helps one look past the home video release’s detriments.

    Miles quickly returns to and reassumes his position as the head of the family company, however, his conscience and moral standings seem to have stayed in the frozen chamber. He reneges on the company’s longstanding charitable donations, kills his dog  (who, of course, very much senses something’s wrong with the undead Miles from the beginning), fires and murders his father’s best friend who had kept the business afloat and profitable, and physically and sexually assaults one of his employees.

    While it’s obvious Craven was working within the confines of television (limited budget, what he could and couldn’t show), you could see why he’d be taken with J.D. Feigelson’s script, namely its keeping in line with Craven’s interest in some sort of social commentary and indictment of rich, upper class, suburban living. One doesn’t have to dig incredibly deep to see the subtext of a man with no soul running a faceless, corporate entity, shunning family and loved ones, refuting god and the church, all in favor of selfish and sadistic desires. Almost every negative aspect of a greed-laden mid-‘80s yuppie/privileged child is addressed in the film. Doing anything in favor of a profit? Check. Backstabbing and betraying those who’ve stood by you? Check. Offering a female employee a higher paying and more powerful position, but only after violently and sexually demeaning her, plus treating her like an object? Check.

    But not only does Craven touch on the practices of such a person, but the environment that enables them. Miles’ mother, Marion (Beatrice Straight of POLTERGEIST) is a woman full of denial and blinded by her perfect son returning to her. In fact, it seems everyone else can sense something is wrong with the boy—most prominently, Stacey (POPCORN and THE STEPFATHER’s lovely Jill Schoelen) who had become sort of an adopted daughter to Marion after Miles’ death, but didn’t necessarily grow up in the exclusive lifestyle. And when Reverend Penny (a nice appearance from GOODFELLAS’ Paul Sorvino) tries to intervene, Miles literally runs him and his spirituality over.

    Aside from what’s underneath, however, does CHILLER work as a film? Yes and no. It’s not incredible in any sense, and I definitely won’t look back on it as fondly as THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, but it’s solid at times, most often thanks to the eerie atmosphere Craven creates around Miles. The character is almost a supernatural precursor to Patrick Bateman and the director’s photography of him (specifically by the fire, watching, ready to pounce on Stacey) coupled with Beck’s acting is highly effective. The supporting cast all put in strong work as well, except for Straight who at times comes off a bit too melodramatic and almost a caricature of a wealthy mother. But then again, that might’ve been what she was going for. CHILLER doesn’t and didn’t break any new ground, and the scares are better when they’re subtle and performance-based rather than the often telegraphed “jump” shocks, but its synthy score and high points definitely make it worthy of discovery. I just hope there’ll be an opportunity for a better looking CHILLER than what’s available on the market now.

    You can read the blog that incited my seven week response right here, as well as check out my initial idea and drop me suggestions for what Craven films you’d like to see me tackle here.

    {jcomments on}

    Read more »
  • Tom Savini is now a “SADIST”; new trailer

    Originally posted on 2010-09-03 19:07:12 by

    Back here, we first gave you the news about SWINE, an independent horror feature starring Tom Savini that marks the feature debut of short filmmaker/Fango scribe Jeremiah Kipp. The movie has since been retitled THE SADIST and its first trailer is on-line; you can see it after the jump.

    Scripted by producers Frank Wihbey and Joe Pisani with Pedro Ondrush, THE SADIST stars Savini as a combat veteran with serious psychological damage who stalks campers and hunters in the woods. Wihbey also co-stars alongside Mackenzie Christine Hawkins, Miguel Lopez, Jerry Murdock, Santo Fazio, Zoe Daelman Chlanda, Carl Burrows and Tom Reid; THE BLOOD SHED’s Alan Rowe Kelly served as line producer, with VINDICATION’s Dominick Sivilli as cinematographer and THE ROOST’s Daniel J. Mazikowski on the makeup FX. We’ll bring you more on THE SADIST in the near future.


    {jcomments on}


    Read more »
Back to Top