Mania Terrors: Halloween 35th Anniversary & Curse of Chucky Blu-ray Reviews (Mania.com)
Date: Monday, November 11, 2013
Welcome to the latest edition of Mania Terrors. The one column that serves all your horror needs!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to start in Seal Team 666. Dwayne Johnson is set to headline MGM's upcoming adaptation of Weston Ochse's tale of the military versus the supernatural, SEAL Team 666. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Evan Spiliotopoulos (who just worked with Johnson on Brett Ratner's Hercules) will provide the screenplay. Published in 2012, the original novel is officially described as follows:
Halfway through SEAL training, Cadet Jack Walker, still green but showing incredible promise, is whisked away to join four SEALs and their dog for a special ops mission. Walker soon finds himself in a whirlwind of otherworldly creatures and events as he discovers the true nature of SEAL Team 666.
Conjuring Spinoff featuring haunted doll. In addition to a sequel, Warner Bros. is also looking at a Conjuring spinoff film centering on the demon-possessed Annabelle doll. The film will be a prequel featuring the doll and will be directed by John Leonnetti who shot James Wan's film.
Amnesiac Now available on DVD! In the wake of losing her baby, lonely Kate Faulkner has become dangerously obsessed with the occult, much to the horror of her only sister, Bec. One night, Bec and her boyfriend, Thom, visit Kate in order to try and make her see the danger of her obsession. Through the use of a Ouija board, they make contact with a mysterious spirit who offers to help Kate in her mission to find her dead son. But events soon take a menacing turn when the séance participants discover the true motives of the mystery stranger at their door and the dark, eerie place of child sacrifice known as Wyke Wreake. Check out the trailer!
Thomas Jane and Kate Bosworth in Somnia. Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane are set to star in Somnia, which will be directed by Mike Flanagan. The film starts production next Monday, November 11th. Somnia is described as a haunting, emotionally absorbing horror film about an orphaned child whose dreams - and nightmares - manifest physically as he sleeps. The film explores the enduring bonds between parent and child and is punctuated by sequences of intense, visceral terror that only a child’s imagination could conjure.
Mischief Night coming to DVD in December. Directed by Richard Schenkman, Mischief Night is available on DVD December 17th. Emily Walton, who has suffered from psychosomatic blindness ever since the car accident that took her mother's life, must summon every instinct at her disposal to protect herself and her loved ones from a mysterious intruder the night before Halloween.
Game Play trailer for Chucky App. I this new game available from the App store Chucky is stuck in a never-ending nightmare in which he’s endlessly running through the factory that produces Good Guys dolls. Players will control Chucky while sprinting through the factory floor, the catwalks, the warehouse, or even outside, and will need to avoid conveyor belts, forklifts, acid pools, barrels and other obstacles. Chucky can also eliminate security guards patrolling the factory using his classic knife or other more outlandish weapons like a cleaver, screwdriver, or hatchet. As they play, gamers will collect batteries that can be used to purchase in-game items or power-ups, such as a double battery bonus, a fast start, or extra lives that can extend a run after dying.
Debut Trailer for Voodoo Possession. Danny Trejo stars in this new film from Image Entertainment which will be released on DVD January 14, 2014. Imagine an insatiable demon that feeds on blood, thrives on pain, and reaches from beyond the grave to torment the living…and the dead. For believers and skeptics alike, there is nothing in this world or the next to rival the relentless evil of a Voodoo Possession. Burdened since childhood with a gnawing sense of guilt, cynical Aiden Chase journeys to a Haitian insane asylum in search of his missing brother. Upon arriving, he discovers all the inmates and the hospital administrator (Trejo) are seemingly possessed by a bloodthirsty voodoo spirit. Now, Aiden must abandon reality and descend into a terrifying spirit world to try to rescue his brother – or they will both be damned for eternity.
Phase 4 releasing Crave on December 6. In the film, a downtrodden photographer, haunted by the urban violence and decay around him, retreats into an inner world of dark fantasies. Those dangerous visions explode in reality with deadly consequences when his intoxicating new relationship with a beautiful young woman goes sour. Josh Lawson, Emma Lung, Ron Perlman and Edward Furlong star.
Trailer for 1972 Yellow House. Another found footage film for ya! During a recent remodel of The Yellow House crews discovered the remains of a little girl and a super 8 movie camera with the footage still inside. The footage has been released to the media by Summerland police with the hope that someone can solve this mystery. Police investigators confirm the film was shot by the missing couple. It is believed they were murdered by occult members. This is their footage.
Synapse to release a restored version of Suspiria. Synapse Films, Inc. has acquired the North American home-video rights to Dario Argento's 1977 classic horror film Suspiria, with an original soundtrack by European prog-rockers Goblin. Described as “one of the scariest films of all time” by Entertainment Weekly, Suspiria stars the beautiful Jessica Harper as a young girl caught up in a coven of witches controlling a German dance academy.
“I’ve been involved in the restoration and release of many films in my career, but SUSPIRIA has always eluded me, until now,” says Donald May, Jr., President of Synapse Films. “It’s one of my favorite horror films and I’m ecstatic that my business partner, Jerry Chandler, was able to negotiate with the rights holders to release this film. This is going to be an amazing project
Synapse Films, Inc. will work closely with Technicolor Rome and Technicolor Los Angeles to create an all-new high-definition 2K scan from the original negative for a possible 2014-15 video release. “It’s important to spend as much time as possible to create the definitive high-definition home video version for the fans,” May explains. “We’re going to take our time with this one.”
THE TERRIFYING REVIEWS
Halloween 35th Anniversary Edition (Anchor Bay)
Halloween was not the first film in the slasher genre…others came before such as Black Christmas and, of course, Psycho. But there’s little argument that Halloween is the most important and influential. It was the film that made household names of Director John Carpenter and actress Jamie Lee Curtis. The simple tale of a psychopath who escapes a mental institution and returns to his hometown to wreak havoc on its inhabitants is tame by today’s standards of in your face gore but still remains a classic thriller of atmosphere and timing.
Anchor Bay has given the film yet another release, this time a remastered HD transfer on Blu-Ray supervised by cinematographer Dean Cundey. On its own is this new transfer worth purchasing if you have previous versions? I supposed that depends on how much of a videophile you are. Certainly the new transfer looks gorgeous. The colors and details are noticeably superior to any previous version. Certainly better than the grainy drive in where I saw it first back in 1978. But if the transfer alone is not enough to entice you there are two new special features included on the 35th anniversary edition.
First there is a brand new audio commentary with Carpenter and Curtis and this one was recorded with both of them together watching the film. Definitely gives the commentary a much more personal feel. Both Curtis and Carpenter sounded relaxed on this often humorous look back at the classic.
The other new feature is an hour-length documentary called “The Night She Came Home”. The film, produced by Curtis’ sister Kelly, documents her first and only convention appearance at the 2012 Horror Hound Weekend in Indianapolis. The film traces the experience from her arrival to her departure, meeting fans, signing autographs, and doing photo ops, which she did for charity. Curtis was incredibly gracious and outgoing, personalizing autographs, hugging fans, and leading the assembled crowd into a chorus of “Happy Birthday” for one fan. It’s a wonderful look at the one person from the film who hasn’t been a regular on the horror con circuit.
In addition the Blu-Ray includes “On Location: 25 Years Later”, the featurette from the 25th anniversary edition DVD following P.J. Soles revisiting the original Halloween neighborhood used for Haddonfield in the film. There’s also the original trailer and TV Spots.
Curse of Chucky (Universal Studios)
If Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers is chasing me, I am going to be sufficiently terrified. But sorry Chuck—I think I can take you. Hence the reason that The Child’s Play series has just never done it for me. It’s a DOLL! It’s a three-foot tall doll! Anyway, Chucky makes his for the sixth installment of the series in a story set four years after the events of the previous film, Seed of Chucky. The Chucky doll arrives in a mysterious package at the home of wheelchair-bound Nica and her mother, Sarah. Sarah tosses the doll into the trash but she dies later that night and the doll is found inside the home.
The following day Nica’s sister Barb arrives with her husband Ian, daughter Alice, and live-in nanny, Jill to comfort the grieving Nica…and tell her they plan on moving her into an assisted living home and sell her house. Nice. When the family priest comes over for dinner, Chucky makes his first murderous move by pouring rat poison into a bowl of chili. Throughout dinner we watch each member carefully trying to figure out which one got the tainted food. It’s virtually the film’s only suspenseful moment.
In between Chucky beginning his murderous rampage and attempting to possess the body of little Alice, we learn that Barb is actually having an affair with the nanny in a modern, PC twist to the usual husband banging the nanny. It’s all very tiresome and dull and offers nothing new. Among the few pluses the film does offer is a cameo by Jennifer Tilly once again playing Chucky’s wife Tiffany and an after credits cameo by Alex Vincent who played Andy Barclay way back in the original Child’s Play. This would be a great way to end the series but somehow I get the feeling that we won’t be that lucky.
The Frozen Ground (Lionsgate)
The Frozen Ground is a thriller starring Nicolas Cage and John Cusack that had a very limited theatrical run before being released on DVD and Blu-ray. The film is based on the true story of serial killer Robert Hansen. Between 1971 and 1983, Hansen murdered between 17 and 21 women near Anchorage, Alaska. He was convicted in 1983 and is currently serving 461 years in Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward, Alaska. Cage plays Alaskan State Police Detective Jack Halcombe (based on real life Detective Glenn Flothe) who only has a couple of weeks left on the job before he is set to start a new position outside of police work.
Halcombe gets assigned the case of an 18 year-old runaway who was allegedly abducted and raped by Hansen. However her case was never prosecuted due to the lack of evidence. When a decomposed body turns up whose cause of death is similar to several other unsolved murders, Halcombe begins to investigate several cold case murders and disappearances of young, local women. Everything points to Hansen, now a prominent local businessmen and Jack has to find the evidence to take down the killer.
The Frozen Ground is a pure connect-the-dot thriller that features solid performances from Cage, Cusack, and especially Vanessa Hudgens as Cindy Paulson, the runaway who escaped Hansen’s clutches. The film also features a strong supporting cast including 50 Cent as an Anchorage street pimp, Radha Mitchell as Jack’s wife, and Kurt Fuller as the District Attorney. But despite the strong cast Director Scott Walker is content for the standard cat and mouse game of cop and killer and attempts to add nothing new to make the plot standout. We’ve seen this type of police procedural done much better in other films. While Cusack bears a creepy likeness to the real life Hansen, he doesn’t make him especially terrifying.
All Hallow’s Eve (Image Entertainment)
There’s nothing like a good Halloween film and unfortunately All Hallow’s Eve is nothing like a good Halloween film. The movie liberally borrows parts of its plot from Halloween and Trick ‘R Treat, two vastly superior films. A Babysitter (who looks much older than the character she is playing) is babysitting for two kids on Halloween night. Now why is it that ONLY in the movies do kids carve their Jack-o-lanterns on Halloween night AFTER they have returned from trick-or-treating? What’s the point? I’ve carved a field full of pumpkins in my life and always before Halloween night. Anyhow, Timmy dumps out his candy sack to find that someone stuck a VHS tape in his bag. The tape is unmarked and both Timmy and sister Tia want to watch the tape but babysitter Sarah refuses…until the kids pester the hell out of her.
The tape features 3 different stories each hosted by a silent but horrifying clown. The first involves women who are abducted aboard a train and taken captive in the tunnels by a group of cultist cannibals. The second story involves a woman who is terrorized in her new home by an alien. The third film involves a woman with car trouble who arrives at a gas station to find our clown cutting up the attendant.
The three films are mind-boggling horrendous. They are filmed with a grainy sketchy quality to try and give it a grindhouse appeal but it simply comes off looking cheap and amateurish. There’s no rhyme or reason to any of the stories. The alien in the second story looks like it was created using a dollar store mask. The only mildly intriguing part is the wraparound story of the babysitter who discovers that watching the tape has brought the clown into the real world…like that wasn’t predictable.
All Hallow’s Eve is gory but its cheesy, low-budget laughable gore. Coupled with weak performances on every level All Hallow’s Eve is a cruel trick for Halloween film fans.
Guillermo Del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities Book Review (Harper Design)
Cabinet of Curiosities is a look at the personal notebooks and collections of famed Director and writer, Guillermo del Toro. It is an amazing and eye-popping look into the many elements and personal belongings of del Toro that will make any genre fan envious. Inspired by the famous Ackermansion of Forrest Ackerman, del Toro built his “Bleak House” to store a lifetime collection of books, collectibles, movie memorabilia, and oddities including many custom built pieces.
Stepping into the foyer of the home you are greeted by an enormous bust of Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein’s monster that hangs from the upstairs railing. Standing guard in the center is a full-sized statue of the demon Sammael from Hellboy. Paintings line the walls including notable works by famed Famous Monsters of Filmland cover artist, Basil Gogos. Stepping into the library you’ll come face to face with an amazing life-sized figure of H.P. Lovecraft, standing and holding a book of ancient lore that del Toro had commissioned special. The library features a vast array of books including works from Arthur Machen and M.R. James. His house also features a Haunted Mansion room based upon the Disneyland attraction. There’s also the Steampunk room, The Screening Room for watching films, and the Comic book room which houses del Toro’s vast collection as well as original art by Mike Mignola, Mike Kaluta, and Gahan Wilson.
Cabinet of Curiosities features a book-length interview with del Toro covering various topics such as his artistic inspirations, films, storytelling, collection, Blade II, Hellboy, Hellboy II, and Pacific Rim. The book is also stuffed with hundreds of del Toro’s sketches, illustrations, notes, and photographs. There are also essays and tributes provided by such luminaries as Ron Perlman, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, and John Landis. It concludes with a look at several of del Toro’s unfinished or upcoming projects like Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, The List of Seven, and Mephisto’s Bridge. The book is a gorgeous look into one of the most imaginative minds we have in film today.