• “THE KILLING OF JACOB MARR”: Update, new photos, screening info

    Originally posted on 2010-09-12 16:50:36 by

    We’ve been closely following the progress of indie filmmaker Brad Rego’s fright feature THE KILLING OF JACOB MARR (see our last item here), and now the movie’s finished and ready to be unveiled. Rego gave us some fresh thoughts on the movie, along with a couple of new exclusive pics and info about its first sneak preview.

    THE KILLING OF JACOB MARR is about a group of vacationers who make the mistake of staying in a cabin where the murderous title character is lurking, 20 years after the horrible deaths of his parents. “I was really happy with the time and effort everybody put in to make it all come together,” he tells Fango, “and I’m very excited about the way the movie turned out. One of the things we tried to accomplish was to focus more on the tension and atmosphere instead of just the hack-and-slash element. So in general, it’s a slower-moving film by design, but we wanted something that was just as entertaining when there isn’t a ton of blood on the screen as when there is—to have characters that the audience will care for and want to follow around for an hour and 47 minutes.

    “That’s the type of horror movie I love,” he continues, “and we really wanted to make sure this one translated to the screen that way. I mean, it’s tough for me to tell now, as I’ve seen the movie hundreds of times, but I really feel everyone did a great job in bringing that element out. I believe it has a good feel to it, and there are definitely some tense moments. Hopefully, audiences will feel the same way. That’s what makes a sneak preview in New York City so exciting.”

    That screening takes place Friday, October 1 at 8 p.m. at Anthology Film Archives (32 2nd Avenue), with a Q&A to follow. While it’s mostly intended for cast, crew and their families and friends, a small number of tickets are being made available to the general public. They can be purchased on-line for $7 at the movie’s official website, where you can also find info on follow-up showings in Oneonta, NY, Jacksonville, FL and at Austin, TX’s Alamo Drafthouse. “The exciting part,” Rego says, “is this will be the first time an audience bigger then a festival screening room will get to see the film. There’s nothing like experiencing a horror movie in a theater, and as a director, I love having the ability to truly view all of our hard work anew through the audience’s eyes. That’s something that can’t happen with DVD or on-line.” Have a look at the trailer (with a bit of non-work-safe language) below, and see THE KILLING OF JACOB MARR’s Facebook page here.

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  • Fango Flashback: “PSYCHO II”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-12 16:40:07 by Christine Hadden

    In the early ’80s, sequelmania hit. Everyone was doing it: HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH, even JAWS stepped onto the sequel train, so it should have come as no surprise when PSYCHO II was announced. That said, it was certainly one of the longest waits in film history for a follow-up—especially considering they were using the same lead actor.

    Directed by Richard Franklin and written by Tom Holland, PSYCHO II (1983) picks up 22 years after the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic. Undertaking the enormous task of crafting a sequel to one of the horror genre’s greatest landmarks must have been quite intimidating to the filmmakers, but to be honest, it truly is a credible film that is often overlooked when worthy horror series are discussed.

    Norman Bates (the spot-on Anthony Perkins, reprising his legendary role) has been institutionalized for the murder of not only his mother but the lovely Marion Crane among others. He has served his term and is ready to face society again. When he gets a job at a diner, he meets a young female co-worker (Meg Tilly) with boyfriend troubles and invites her to stay at his house with him and his…memories. Needless to say, Norman is trying hard to deal with not only his past, but his infamous reputation as well.

    The heart of the film is Norman’s attempt at a return to reality and his apparent descent back into madness. It’s not a film that goes outside the box, but a return to the scenario that was such a success the first time around. After all, hadn’t we all been wondering what Norman and Mother had been up to? Didn’t we want to see the foreboding house on the hill and hear those screeching strings again?

    The original PSYCHO is such an untouchable classic (as is obvious from Gus Van Sant’s embarrassing and unnecessary shot-by-shot remake in 1998) that it was difficult to imagine even writing an adequate follow-up, let alone pulling it off—despite the formidable Perkins returning in all his quirky, neurotic glory. But critics tend to agree that PSYCHO II was an impressive return to the Bates Motel, and two more sequels resulted from its own strong audience reception. The film captures quite well the feel of the anxious moments we remember from the original, with Norman as big a nervous Nellie as ever. Backed by a fantastic score by the late Jerry Goldsmith and utilizing the talents of such talented supporting actors as Tilly, Dennis Franz and Robert Loggia, it’s a film that deserves to be seen and appreciated on its own merits.

    PSYCHO II will soon get its due thanks to the documentary THE PSYCHO LEGACY, coming on DVD October 19 from Shout! Factory. Robert V. Galluzzo’s 90-minute labor of love (with three hours of extra bonus material in the two-disc set) takes a long hard look at the entire PSYCHO series via new interviews, clips, archival material and more. Pick up Fango #298, on sale in October, for more on LEGACY and an interview with PSYCHO II producer Hilton A. Green.

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  • Director talks “AMHURST” chiller; DVD release set

    Originally posted on 2010-09-12 16:30:44 by

    Director Rocky Constanzo, whose credits include the 2006 DVD release HALLOWED, sent along some comments on his new horror film AMHURST, to go with the announcement that it’ll be hitting DVD in October.

    Written by Lisa Costanzo, the LifeLine Entertainment production stars Amy Tiehel as Rebecca, a woman who returns to her childhood home after the death of her abusive grandfather. It’s not long before strange things start happening, and Rebecca begins suffering nightmares about her missing twin sister. The cast also includes Stephanie Hullar, Alec Hogan and Jess Buschini.

    “AMHURST is my fourth feature,” Costanzo tells Fango. “I’m a big fan of horror films and always wanted to make one of my own, which I finally did with HALLOWED in 2005. The budget was incredibly small, but it did fairly well on DVD and sort of jumpstarted things for me. AMHURST is not a slasher-style film; it’s more of a classic thriller. There are deaths and gore, albeit minor, and it’s suspenseful at times, especially the climax, but slasher fans might not dig it since there isn’t a guy in a mask ripping off heads in every scene. We might do something more like that on the next film.

    “The music is definitely a highlight,” he adds. “I worked closely with my composer, Rob Gokee, for three months, and between the two of us—mostly him—we came up with a very haunting score. All in all, I believe AMHURST is a strong film that will do well for us.”

    The DVD, to be released October 19 by Costanzo’s Hourglass Pictures and Passion River Films, will present the movie in widescreen with Dolby Digital sound, plus:

    • Audio commentary by Rocky and Lisa Costanzo

    • “Beyond the Boundaries” documentary including interviews, deleted scenes and outtakes


    The first 1,000 units will be Unrated Limited Premiere Editions with alternate artwork on an O-card; retail price is $22.98. See the movie’s trailer below and its Facebook page here.

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    Originally posted on 2010-09-12 16:26:20 by

    Director Richard W. Haines, a veteran of Troma releases like CLASS OF NUKE ’EM HIGH and SPLATTER UNIVERSITY, now wants to reveal WHAT REALLY FRIGHTENS YOU? in his latest chiller. The movie hits DVD October 19, and Haines gave us a little info on the movie and its accompanying features.

    WHAT REALLY FRIGHTENS YOU? centers on a genre-fanzine writer who makes the titular query of a trio of New Yorkers; after he publishes the results, their worst fears begin coming to life. “The film was photographed in 35mm, and we made the digital master directly from the negative reversing and color correction, so it’s quite sharp and vibrant,” Haines tells Fango. “We tried to simulate the Technicolor look of a Hammer horror film, as well as do some experimental lighting transitions. Brian Spears and Pete Gerner [whose credits include I SELL THE DEAD and the upcoming STAKE LAND] did the special effects, utilizing latex creatures, not CGI.

    “The final release version will include audio commentary and a slide show,” Haines adds; Celebrity Video Distribution is issuing the DVD. WHAT REALLY FRIGHTENS YOU?’s cast includes Jennifer Sorika, Postell Pringle, Ian Tomaschik, Patrick Flynne, Chris Keveney and Rose Sezniak; you can see the trailer below.

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  • Lynn Lowry “SCORE”s on DVD and Blu-ray this fall

    Originally posted on 2010-09-12 16:22:55 by Chris Alexander

    Horror and exploitation film icon Lynn Lowry (SHIVERS, THE CRAZIES, I DRINK YOUR BLOOD) is enjoying a career renaissance of late (as profiled in the pages of FANGORIA #296), and seems hellbent on reminding the world about her unique beauty and still-striking physical presence. Alongside the slew of new and upcoming features under her belt (she even contributed an effective cameo to the recent CRAZIES remake), Cult Epics is rereleasing a picture where we got to literally see what was under her belt: softcore pornslinger Radley Metzger’s notorious 1972 skin flick SCORE.

    In the film, Lowry stars as a semi-innocent nymph who enters into a wild ménage with two other men and another woman, who claim “they’d mount a porcupine if the mood struck them.” And essentially, everyone does indeed mount everyone with the slightest of provocation in this funny, deeply weird and raunchy classic.

    Cult Epics will be releasing the full, rarely seen, uncut and uncensored version on both DVD and Blu-ray on October 12, with the standard theatrical version coming October 26. Features (available on both releases) will include a vintage behind-the-scenes featurette, a new interview with Lowry and a commentary by Metzger and film historian Michael Bowen. Also of note is news that The Cinefamily, a group dedicated to spotlighting interesting and unusual films, will host a special screening of the uncensored SCORE at 8 p.m. Sunday, November 7 at the Silent Movie Theatre in Los Angeles (611 North Fairfax Avenue). A Q&A session with Metzger will follow the film.

    Keep visiting Fangoria.com in the coming weeks for a new, exclusive interview with Lowry where she’ll discuss in detail her early days working on these classics of exploitation cinema. “I’ve never done any work that I’m not extremely proud of,” says Lowry. “And I absolutely adore myself in SCORE.” And be sure to visit Cult Epics’ official site for full SCORE specs and other information on their great, strange and eccentric releases.


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  • Filmmaker talks “DAMNED BY DAWN”; exclusive pics

    Originally posted on 2010-09-11 13:52:23 by

    Australian filmmaker Brett Anstey gave us some comments and exclusive photos from his chiller DAMNED BY DAWN, which has attracted quite a bit of positive attention at festivals over the last year or so. Produced by Anstey and Luke Gibson, the movie debuts on U.S. DVD November 9 from Image Entertainment (see art and details here).

    “The film centers on a banshee whose wailing wakes the dead,” Anstey, who scripted the film from a story he wrote with Russell Friedrich and Rob Townshend, tells us. Specifically, it raises walking corpses during a thunderstorm, and the creatures terrorize a family. “The original idea was to make a period horror, one heavily influenced by the classic Hammer films. But it soon became apparent we couldn’t afford Christopher Lee, Ingrid Pitt, horse-drawn carriages and boobs. Fog, atmosphere and heavy doses of Irish mythology were all within our budget, though, so those elements remain.”

    DAMNED BY DAWN’s cast is headed by Renee Willner, Bridget Neval, Dawn Klingberg (also be seen in another pair of Ozploitationers, THE OUTBACK, a.k.a. PREY, and the upcoming THE GATES OF HELL), Danny Alder and veteran actor Peter Stratford, whose credits include Simon Wincer’s thriller SNAPSHOT, a.k.a. THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN. This is the first feature from Anstey, Gibson and their cohorts in The Amazing Krypto Bros., a filmmaking collective who previously made the award-winning short ATOMIC SPITBALLS.

    “The film was shot during winter over 26 grueling days and nights in Ballarat, Victoria,” the writer/director says. “The cast and crew had to endure many nights in near-freezing conditions whilst working in forests and paddocks. In other words, the circumstances weren’t ideal. But in the end we all survived…just! And despite the lowish budget, every cent is up on the screen. The film looks incredible, thanks to the production design of David Jackson, the cinematography of Reg Spoon—with additional photography by Tom David and Mick De Montignie—and the amazing work of makeup effects artist Justin Dix [whose bloody work on STORM WARNING won the Best Special Effects award at 2007’s Screamfest] and his crew. Justin and I have been collaborating on numerous projects since the early ’90s, and in many ways he’s similar to Tom Savini, in that he’s just not a makeup artist, he’s also a stuntman and a talented director.”

    Dix helped bring the central banshee creature to life in collaboration with concept designer Seth Justus, performer Bridget Neval and audio designer Tristan Meredith, the latter of whom Anstey cites as another key contributor to DAMNED’s horrific impact: “Tristan created a sound for the banshee’s shrieking that seriously makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.” To get the skin crawling, the filmmakers also employed a multitude of real cockroaches. “We purchased 950 of them!” Anstey says. “Dealing and controlling that many insects is a challenge at the best of times. Throw cold weather into the equation, and even the roaches struggled. They can survive a nuclear war, but barely made it through the nightly weather in Ballarat!”

    Check out DAMNED BY DAWN’s trailer below, and find out more about the movie at its official website and Facebook page.

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  • Sound Shock: Bob Ezrin on “THE ELDER”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-11 13:04:59 by Chris Alexander

    Ah, the concept album, the rock opera…the ambitious extension of every pop artist who tires of his or her trade and dreams of bigger fish. In the 1970s, as music and mass media leaned towards bloat, with bands like Queen, The Who and Pink Floyd conquering the charts and grand-scale cinema like STAR WARS owning the box office, Kiss decided to give the trashy rock-and-roll pulp they made their name with a rest and pursue loftier creative heights.

    The result of their semi-delusional dreaming was 1981’s THE ELDER, a baroque, full-blown concept platter charting the story of a Luke Skywalker-esque boy who is called upon to battle the evil Mr. Blackwell and restore order and balance to the land. The album was the work of legendary producer Bob Ezrin (who helped shape the sound of hard rock’s first horror show, Alice Cooper), a Toronto native who had previously reinvented the band with 1976’s classic DESTROYER and had, at that time, just worked on Pink Floyd’s double-disc rock-opera juggernaut THE WALL.

    Both Ezrin and the band (well, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, anyway) were convinced that THE ELDER would be the record to forge their new “mature” path, a bounce back after the lightweight pop fluff of 1980’s UNMASKED. Kiss trimmed their hair and donned new, stripped-down costumes, and the cover was the first in the band’s history not to feature the freak four.

    It was, of course, a gross miscalculation.

    The album tanked, fans recoiled and THE ELDER pretty much drove a stake through the first wave of Kisstory. But time is a great healer, and over the years, many Kiss devotees have come forth and voiced their love for the disc (this writer included). Lush, evocative, frightening, beautiful and very cinematic, THE ELDER is such a breathlessly odd piece of work, so different from anything else in the Kiss lexicon, that it demands respect.

    Fango tracked down Ezrin to talk about THE ELDER and share some memories of that pivotal point in the band’s myth…

    FANGORIA: To say one loves THE ELDER is—even now—not a popular sentiment.

    BOB EZRIN: True. Not even amongst those of us who created it!

    FANG: What can you tell us about the genesis of the album?

    EZRIN: Well, the boys came to me with a bunch of really heavy demos, initially. They wanted to make a very intense record to combat the criticism of the last couple of albums. I had just made THE WALL, and I convinced them to scrap those demos and do something different. So THE ELDER was a victim of THE WALL and our mutual desire to do something “important,” which really was antithetical to what Kiss was about. Kiss was never pretentious or precious and never took themselves seriously. They were always about fun, sex and power and were always, in effect, horror cartoon characters, so to suddenly do a concept album, something of “consequence,” was an anti-Kiss idea. It was a flawed concept from the beginning.

    FANG: Who was the driving force behind the record?

    EZRIN: At the time, we were all looking for bigger, better things, and Gene—more so than Paul—jumped on the concept of doing THE ELDER. I’m not really sure if he came in with it or we developed it together, but we both evolved a script for a little film to accompany it. We thought it would be the beginning of multiple projects to go under the ELDER banner. We were wrong, of course. But Paul and Gene were really into it, and they put their all into it. They both had to step out of their personas, and it was really bold of them to do that. They were attracted to the classic rock, almost Beatles-esque, complex structure of the album…they were seduced by that. We were all trying to be artistes. It was a huge mistake.

    FANG: It’s well-known that lead guitarist Ace Frehley was not pleased with this direction, failed to show up for sessions and quit the band soon after. But you had similar problems with Ace during the recording of DESTROYER as well, didn’t you?

    EZRIN: People dwell on that, but it’s not entirely true. I loved Ace. It’s just that DESTROYER was a big project. It was ambitious and grandiose and had to be delivered on a finite budget in a very finite time frame. Gene and Paul were, as always, totally disciplined, but Ace was a free spirit and, like his persona suggests, a real space cadet. Sometimes we couldn’t find him when we were in studio and had to record, so we had to proceed with Biff Wagner playing his parts. But when he did play on the album, he was fantastic.

    FANG: DESTROYER was huge, a landmark album—but it too was met with fan dissent, initially. Do you remember the backlash when THE ELDER was released?

    EZRIN: I do. Here was this larger-than-life fantasy/rock record, filled with myth and violence and passion, and I believe some fans liked it. Some critics liked it too, which rarely happened with Kiss. But most fans couldn’t grasp it and they felt left behind, isolated.

    FANG: What do you think of THE ELDER now?

    EZRIN: There are some great moments in there, for sure, and some classics buried in the mix. But on the whole, it’s way too self-indulgent and way too overproduced. It’s also not fully realized. There’s not enough material, and the story is not fleshed out. It’s an interesting failure, I think.

    FANG: And what about the commercial viability of the “concept album”…is it dead?

    EZRIN: I don’t believe so. Look at Green Day’s AMERICAN IDIOT. It was a huge album and then a big Broadway show. And listen, I hope it’s not dead, because I just got in the studio with Alice Cooper to do another concept disc, an album with a connecting thematic thread, so I’m hoping it is still very much alive and well!

    Fango #298, coming in October, features lots more about Kiss and its place in the world of horror, including a major interview with frontman Gene Simmons; go here for a preview of the cover!

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    Originally posted on 2010-09-11 12:42:40 by

    This year marks the 35th anniversary of the ultimate cult film/midnight movie THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, and while Fox Home Entertainment has a celebratory Blu-ray set coming October 19, Fox TV will pay homage in an episode of its hit series GLEE. And two original cast members will be joining in.

    E! Online reports that Barry Bostwick, who starred as Brad, and Meat Loaf, the rocker who played ill-fated delivery boy Eddie (pictured), will appear in the episode as TV station managers who make an “interesting proposal” to ruthless cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, played by Jane Lynch. Susan Sarandon, who portrayed ROCKY HORROR heroine Janet, has expressed interest in taking part as well, but no deal has been signed yet. The show will feature performances by the regular characters of numerous songs from ROCKY HORROR (which GLEE lead actor Matthew Morrison once performed on Broadway), and airs October 26. It’s not the first network series to do the “Time Warp”; CBS built an episode of its crime drama COLD CASE around the movie and its songs in 2005.

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  • “RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE” to set franchise box-office record

    Originally posted on 2010-09-11 12:25:32 by

    The very early box-office estimates for this weekend are in, and based on Friday’s figures, it looks like RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE will very easily claim the number-one spot, and also have the best opening in the franchise’s history.

    Deadline reports an opening-day gross (presumably including Thursday-midnight shows) of $11 million, which should be good for a weekend total of $28 million. (Final estimates will be announced Sunday afternoon.) That bests the three previous films in Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich’s video-game-based zombie series: The original opened in March 2002 to $17.7 million and finished with $40.1 million; APOCALYPSE debuted in September 2004 to $23 million on the way to $51.2 million; and EXTINCTION started off with $23.7 million in September 2007 and wrapped up with $50.6 million. Higher ticket prices for 3-D showings of AFTERLIFE helped, of course; about 2,000 of the movie’s 3,203 screens were 3-D, including 164 in IMAX. Elsewhere on the chart, Fox’s MACHETE looks to take a big drop to about $4.5 million and fifth place in its second weekend for a total of $21.1 million, while THE LAST EXORCISM should do about $3-$3.5 million for sixth place and a cume of $38.2 million.

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  • Terrifyingly Gnarly: Wes Craven, Week 3: “THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-10 21:23:52 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 four 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. Check out last week’s right here and read on for week three—my look at 1988’s Haitian Voodoo-zombie flick THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW.

    “Listen to me, there’s a door to the mystical, and you just walked through it,” says Michael Gough to Bill Pullman. “Right now you are very vulnerable. I wouldn’t go back to Haiti. You’d be a grade school boy in a world of Nobel Prize winners.”

    Considering the fine china, parlor room, bow ties and Boston/Cambridge Ivy League setting, and especially considering the American conceit of often thinking of ourselves as the most developed and intelligent (often in relation to third world and struggling nations), it’s an interesting (and ironic since Pullman’s Alan Dennis would presumably be awarded something akin to a Nobel Prize if his mission were successful) choice of words that hold a lot of weight in explaining just what makes well done horror and THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW so effective. It’s that classic fear of the unknown, the different. A good many citizens of superpower nations around the world may study all they want, and the idea here is that Alan—being an anthropologist—has, but will never fully understand or not be unsettled by the clash of values, customs, superstitions and beliefs that often crop up in underdeveloped countries. Nor will they grasp that often their aid and wishes to help will have nary a dent of an effect thanks to corrupt political regimes.

    In SERPENT, Dr. Alan Dennis is approached by a pharmaceutical corporation with the task of learning more about, and obtaining a sample of, a powder used in voodoo ceremonies in Haiti. His past exploits in the Amazon fuel the idea that Alan will be able to handle what comes next. We know he can’t. Once in Haiti, Alan becomes close with Marielle Duchamp, a psychiatrist and branded radical. The two investigate the existence of the powder, what’s happened to supposed zombie Christophe and becomes entangled in both supernatural voodoo rites and political upheaval amidst the Jean-Claude Duvalier regime.

    From its initial concept (based upon a nonfiction account by Wade Davis), what’s very exciting about Craven and screenwriters Richard Maxwell and Adam Rodman’s approach to this zombie film is their interest in looking back farther than Romero’s 1968 landmark to the original zombies, mindless slaves spawned by voodoo in the Caribbean. By 1988, audiences had no doubt grown very accustomed to the modern undead and just what they entailed so bringing it back a step to an unfamiliar landscape no doubt brought a freshness and still does. There aren’t a whole lot of films like THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, and it’s all the better for it. What’s more is that Craven’s scares are still effective which is in part thanks to the set up and execution of out-and-out supernatural shocks, but also the all around sense of dread and hallucinatory “out of one’s element” atmosphere in the film (in the beginning, a man comments on the remarkableness of Haiti in that at a communal celebration involving needles and fire feats, none of the Haitians seem to bleed or be injured). Craven smartly lets his shots linger steadily and matter-of-factly and often a bit too long on the odd and off-kilter happenings, putting an audience member face-to-face with something alien. The director also takes his time in setting up the environment in things like displaying an entire funeral procession before transitioning into the characters and beginning of the Haitian aspect of the story. The atmosphere begins with Alan in the jungles of the Amazon, clenches tightly to his shoulders throughout his stay in Haiti and even follows him back to the U.S. at the end of the second act for one of the scariest and best scenes in the film (a friend’s wife mimics a Haitian glass eater seen earlier in the movie by chomping on her wine glass at dinner, and with a mouth full of shards viciously, attempts to attack Alan across the table). 

    What makes these scares so deeply unsettling is very akin to Craven’s work in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Many of Alan’s more frightening encounters are dreams or hallucinations that very much skirt the line of reality. There’s a sense that these aren’t nightmares that will wash away with the cold sweat, but have a lasting effect either physically or mentally that’s only confirmed when it’s revealed that Captain Peytraud (a superb and sinister Zakes Mokae), the dictator’s second-in-command and head of the oppressive and violent secret police, is heavily dabbling in voodoo and crafting the walking nightmares Alan sees (who could forget the skeleton bride, spewing the serpent from her mouth?). 

    Even though the film had apparently departed greatly from its source text, something it came under fire for from the original author—likely for being turned into a genre story—under Craven’s guidance and his social and political awareness, the horror becomes a way to express his interest in looking at what an unstable, militant and violent government does to itself and its people. Before zombies became ravenous flesh eaters, the real fear was that you’d be a mindless slave, stripped of soul and forced to wander in limbo and servitude, often to men of dark intentions (which Romero fused beautifully with the modern zombie in his DAWN OF THE DEAD to discuss our blind loyalty to consumer culture). Under Peytraud, who holds many souls hostage, he’s slowly turning the people of Haiti into figurative and literal zombies, unable to speak out, doing as he says and deploying both the aforementioned walking nightmares and very real and very murderous police to make his point. Setting the film during the regime of Duvalier grounds the supernatural occurrences, creating a very clear parallel and showcasing that although Alan is able to kill Peytraud, it’s the people of Haiti who had to rise up and drive Duvalier out.

    While most of the frights in THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW aren’t exactly subtle, they contain a stern eerie sensibility, one that flies out the window when Alan and Peytraud meet in the climax and where some viewers may be taken out as souls begin flying around and Peytraud comes shooting out of walls. I wasn’t necessarily taken aback or put off, but excited by the grandiose-ness of it all and where it ends up, with the captain in his torturing chair, being sucked into hell, no doubt an incredible moment in the film. 

    THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW is an example of Craven at his best, employing excellent filmmaking, tension, scares and what horror should often be used for, exploring the plight of the repressed, both in the sense of people and taboos.

    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.

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  • International trailer for “LET ME IN”

    Originally posted on 2010-09-10 18:18:19 by Allan Dart

    With all of the clips, images and video being released as of late, Overture Films’ vampire drama LET ME IN is certainly getting a strong promotional push. Check out a new international preview after the jump.

    Click here to watch three other clips from LET ME IN, which opens October 1. Writer/director Matt Reeves talks up the film in Fango #297, on sale this month.

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  • Special “SKYLINE” preview at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights

    Originally posted on 2010-09-10 17:43:43 by Allan Dart

    This year’s Halloween Horror Nights at LA’s Universal Studios has another attraction to entice visitors: a sneak peek at the Strause Brothers’ alien invasion film SKYLINE.

    Shock Till You Drop reports that the trailer will be a part of the Terror Tram tour. Directed by AVP:R’s Greg & Colin Strause, SKYLINE opens November 12 and stars TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE’s Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, Donald Faison, DEXTER’s David Zayas and Crystal Reed.

    Click here for links to SKYLINE’s poster and trailer. And you can go to Halloween Horror Nights’ official site for more info on the event.

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