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Tuesday Terrors: Twixt, Black Rock, and The Demented REVIEWS
Neil Gaiman has a videogame!
By Tim Janson
July 30, 2013
Welcome back to Mania’s Tuesday Terrors. A column that features all the THE HORRIFYING NEWS you will ever need.
Red Band Trailer for Hell Baby. Jack (Rob Corddry) and Vanessa (Leslie Bibb) are an expectant couple that moves into the most haunted fixer-upper in New Orleans -- a house with a deadly demonic curse. Things soon spiral out of control for Jack and Vanessa, as well as their-not-so-helpful neighbor F'Resnel (Keegan-Michael Key), Vanessa's friendly psychiatrist (Michael Ian Black), Vanessa's Wiccan sister Marjorie (Riki Lindhome) and the detectives assigned to look into the rising body count (Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer). Only the Vatican's elite exorcism team (Garant and Lennon) san save them -- or can they?
The Haunting of Helena Trailer. After a divorce, Sophia moves to the south of Italy with her daughter, Helena. Their new home, an apartment within an austere building of the fascist age, is a chance for them to start a new life. But inside an old storage room hides a mysterious closet and a buried secret. After the loss of Helena’s first baby tooth, a chilling obsession begins and an apparition haunts her sleep. Dreams become nightmares. Nightmares become reality. When Helena collects her classmate’s fallen teeth with an urgent hunger, it is clear that there is far more to their new home than can be seen. Sophia finds herself in a terrifying fight to save her child while maintaining her sanity. Arrives on VOD and DVD Sept. 17.
New Clip from Frankenstein’s Army. Released in theaters and on-demand on July 26, check out the latest clip from Frankenstein’s army called “Burnt Match Man”.
First Trailer for The Banshee Chapter. Produced by Zachary Quinto, The Banshee Chapter centers on a young, female journalist (Winter) who follows the mysterious trail of a missing friend (McMillian) that had been experimenting with mind-altering chemicals developed in secret government drug tests. Levine plays the role of a rogue counter-culture novelist with a penchant for substance abuse and firearms who leads the journalist into the mystery of dangerous chemical research. A fast-paced blend of fact and fiction, the film is based on real documents, actual test subject testimony, and uncovered secrets about covert programs run by the CIA. On VOD in December and theaters in January.
Saturday Morning Mystery coming August 10. Four professional ghost hunters, who travel in a vintage van accompanied by their canine companion (sound familiar?), get far more than they bargained for when they investigate an abandoned schoolhouse with a mysterious past.
The Bates Haunting on VOD August 6th. Agnes Rickover visited the Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride looking for some Halloween fear and fun. Instead, she witnessed a tragedy: The fiery death of her best friend Lily making her dramatic debut on the Hayride. After a year spent obsessing over the horrible accident, Agnes takes a job at The Haunted Hayride, hoping to face her trauma and to exorcise her demons. She thinks this could be an investigative opportunity as well, and when her new co-workers end up victims of mysterious accidents, she knows it is. With her new sidekick Clyde, Agnes must figure out whom – or what – is behind all of this mayhem before more people die.
NBC planning on remakes of Tommyknockers and Rosemary’s Baby! NBC has announced it is developing a new mini-series based on Stephen King’s Tommyknockers (which originally was made only 20 years ago in 1993), as well as a remake/resetting of the 1960s classic Rosemary’s Baby”. And I will ask the question…Why?
Drew Barrymore producing original film for Chiller. When plans for a weekend vacation hit a dead end, a group of close-knit friends find themselves stranded in unfamiliar territory, pursued by a menacing, blood thirsty predator. Holed up in an isolated cabin, tensions mount as long-buried secrets are revealed. As the body count rises, the group must put their differences aside and fight for survival. Animal is from executive producers Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen. The film will Have a limited theatrical and VOD run before debuting on Chiller in 2014.
Hot Toys producing Brandon Lee Crow figure. Based on the film of the same name, The Crow’s story follows Eric Draven, portrayed by Brandon Lee - son of the legendary Bruce Lee, who is revived from the dead to avenge his own murder as well as that of his fiancée by a gang of thugs. Hot Toys is proud to present the 1/6th scale Eric Draven Collectible Figure from this visually stunning and critically successful film. The movie-accurate collectible is specially crafted based on the image of Brandon Lee as Eric Draven in the movie. It features newly developed head sculpt, highly detailed outfit, accessories and figure stand.
Watch a clip from Stranded. Christian Slater plays Gerard, a man who leads three other astronauts on a mission, when a meteor suddenly collides with their space station putting the lives of the entire crew in danger. Those on board quickly learn that spores from the meteorite can replicate cell structure, reproduce, and mutate. Ava (Amy Matysio), the only female astronaut becomes infected, showing signs of pregnancy at a rapid rate. Within 36 hours she gives birth to a creature that mutates into the life form of another crew member. As the astronauts begin to experience this sinister presence, the virus spreads and Gerard urges for the killing of Ava. The alien being targets the crew one by one, leaving those remaining to destroy it before all are killed.
Teaser Trailer for Night Visitor. Lony Ruhmann scripted this tale which will combine "found footage" with a traditionally-told narrative. The film is being geared for a straight-to-VOD release.Brianne Davis plays the role of Jen, a mother of six-year old Ricky, who’s being tormented by a demented Alien.
New clip for Jug Face. Here is a second clip for Jug Face. Jug Face tells the story of a pregnant teen trying to escape a backwoods community when she discovers that she may be sacrificed to a mysterious pit. The entity in the pit requires a life for keeping the community safe. The face of the person to be sacrificed is crafted onto a ceramic jug. When ignored, the entity unleashes an evil onto the community. Now no one is safe as tragedy befalls each member one by one and they soon realize that the pit wants what it wants. On VOD now.
Neil Gaiman developing videogame Wayward Manor. Best-selling author Neil Gaiman has announced the development of his first videogame entitled Wayward Manor. Set in a 1920s Victorian Gothic pastoral estate, Wayward Manor players unravel the mystery of a ghost (player) seeking a peaceful after-life. After a remarkable cast of characters moves into Wayward Manor and wakes him from his post-mortem slumbers, the ghost must find ever-more inventive and brilliant ways to scare them away. As the ghost learns more about the living characters, he also learns more about his own death and after-life, and the danger they are all facing. Wayward Manor will be available just in time for the holidays on PC, Mac, and tablets.
James McAvoy to play Victor Frankenstein. James McAvoy is set to play Victor Frankenstein in 20th Century Fox's upcoming Frankenstein. Deadline has the news, reporting that the X-Men: First Class star will join Daniel Radcliffe, cast earlier this year in the Igor role. Paul McGuigan is attached to direct. The film, scripted by Max Landis (Chronicle) adapts Mary Shelley's 1818 novel.
Do not Disturb on DVD August 6th! Directed by BC Furtney (New Terminal Hotel), this horror film stars Stephen Geoffreys (Friday Night), Tiffany Shepis (Cyrus), Ezra Buzzington (Fight Club) and Corey Haim (The Lost Boys). Holed up in a seedy hotel, Hollywood screenwriter Don Malek (Geoffreys) is scripting a diabolical plan for revenge. But instead of writing about a bloodthirsty serial killer, Don is doing the dirty work with his own hands. Tiffany Shepis and Corey Haim also star in this gritty, jolting thriller where no one is safe…and checkout time is sooner than you think.
THE TERRIFYING REVIEWS
Black Rock Blu-Ray Review (Lionsgate)
Sarah (Kate Bosworth) has invited her childhood friends Lou (Lake Bell) and Abby (Katie Aselton) to return to a remote island off the Main cost that they once spent time at in their youth. She leads them there to try and repair the estranged relationship between the two women after Lou had slept with Abby’s fiancée years earlier. While camping, the girls meet three younger men who have come to the island to hunt. The men reveal they are all former military vets who were dishonorably discharged for an incident in the Middle East. A drunken Abby begins flirting with Henry, leading him off into the woods. But when he tries to rape her, Abby hits him in the head with a rock, accidentally killing him. Now, Henry’s two friends Derek and Alex are out for revenge against the three women, hunting them down on the tiny island.
Black Rock is another one of these empowered women fighting back films similar to I Spit on your Grave and Girls Against Boys. This one falls somewhere in the middle of those two films being not nearly as good as I the former but not nearly as awful as the latter. The problems are numerous. First, Aselton, who also serves as the film’s director, does a poor job of building sympathy for her character. Henry actually ignores several of Abby’s drunken advances before she runs off to the woods to go to the bathroom and uses a flashlight to get his attention and lead him into the woods. Once there, it is she who throws herself at him. Ok, Henry ignored her demands to stop but why even play the scene like this to begin with? Why create shades of grey in a film that has such a predictable plot?
Even worse, the characters are not very bright. One can hardly imagine these guys surviving in a war zone when three trained ex-soldiers, armed with high-powered rifles and shotguns, can’t manage to find three unarmed girls from the suburbs…and CANNOT tie them up well enough to keep them from escaping when they do capture them. Derek has several opportunities to kill the women but prefers to be a two-bit melodramatic villain and preen gleefully. If he had a mustache he would no doubt have been curling it in his fingers. The female characters are irritably predictable. Despite their feud, Abby and Lou finally make amends, bonding in the buff in a gratuitous nude scene that was completely unnecessary.
Twixt Blu-Ray Review (20th Century Fox)
There’s an old saying that if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them will bull***! After watching Twixt, I’m not sure if Director Francis Ford Copplola has dazzle me or baffled me…I suspect it’s a bit of both. Coppola returns to the horror genre as Director for the first time since 1992’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” in this offbeat supernatural thriller about a child killer, vampires, and the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe.
Val Killmer plays a struggling horror-writer named Hall Baltimore who cranks out cheesy, low-brow horror novels after having been praised as a hot new talent earlier in his career. In some ways Baltimore mirrors Kilmer’s own acting career which has been treading water since having starred in several major roles in the 80’s and 90s. Baltimore arrives in a small, off-the-beaten-path town for a book store signing only to find that the town’s bookstore is located inside the hardware store.
Baltimore meets the town sheriff Bobby LaGrange (Bruce Dern) who fancies himself a horror writer and wants to collaborate with Hall on a story about a mysterious serial killing in the town and the mysterious body he has in his morgue with a stake driven through the victim’s heart. Baltimore is plagued by the usual troubles…financial worries, alcoholism, a demanding editor, as well as dealing with the tragic loss of his daughter in a boating accident. Hall is also battling writer’s block, desperately trying to find a new direction for his next book.
He may have found it in LaGrange and the strange town. When he sleeps…or gets knocked out…Hall begins to have strange nightmares…Meeting a ghostly young girl named “V” (Elle Fanning) as well as the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe. This dreamland is created by cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr., with an ethereal quality that is filmed primarily in black and white but with splashes of color thrown in such as the lips and cheakbones of “V”. The film has a similar feel to 1988’s “Lady in White” with its combination of supernatural horror and small town murder mystery.
Poe acts as Baltimore’s guide through the dreamworld, revealing the horrors of a pastor who murdered several children in the 1950s to keep them from becoming corrupt…and of the one girl who managed to escape—“V”. Coppola throws a lot of elements at the viewer: V, Poe, the serial murders, Sheriff LaGrange, and group of gothic punks who LaGrange believes are vampires. Twixt tends to be muddled with all of these elements but somehow they still coalesce into an above average film
Kilmer is perfect as the life-weary writer. Bruce Dern, a veteran for over 50 years does crazy character actor as well as anyone. Fanning and Ben Chaplin as Poe, round out an eclectic supporting cast. And in a bit role, Don Novello plays Melvin who maintains the town clock. Novello is best known for playing Father Guido Sarducci on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Twilight Zone Season 3 DVD Review (Image Entertainment)
The third season of The Twilight Zone premiered on September 15, 1961 on CBS with the episode entitled “Two”. This anti-war episode features Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson as enemy combatants in a post-apocalyptic world. The pair goes from battling each other, to eyeing each other warily; to finally realizing that war has already destroyed everything they know, and resigning to live together in peach. “Two is a very powerful and poignant episode and one that doesn’t get much mention.
“The Shelter” is another anti-war episode born out of Cold War era hysterics. A man has built a bomb shelter in his basement for his family but when it’s reported that the U.S. might be under attack, the man finds himself attacked by his own friends and neighbors who want to get into his shelter.
The third season is home to one of The Twilight Zone’s most famous episodes, “It’s a Good Life” written by Sci-Fi author Jerome Bixby. Young Billy Mumy (Lost in Space) plays six-year old Anthony Fremont who has God-like powers which enable him to do virtually anything. Anthony keeps his family terrified family imprisoned in their home with his powers to virtually control reality.
“To Serve Man” was written by Sci-fi great Damon Knight. Earth makes its first contact with aliens, a race of giants called the Kanamits. The aliens at first are benevolent, helping solve many of Earth’s problems like hunger and disease. But it’s soon learned that their guide book called “To Serve Man” is actually a cookbook.
As usual, most of the episodes were written by Rod Serling but several episodes were penned by other well-known horror and Sci-fi writers including two by the late Richard Matheson “Little Girl Lost” and “Young Man’s Fancy”; and Ray Bardbury who wrote another of the series’ iconic episodes “I Sing the Body Electric”. And once again the show featured many well-known actors who were in the early days of their careers like Robert Redford, Carol Burnett, Loenard Nimoy, William Windom, Lee Marvin, Peter Falk, Jack Klugman, and Richard Kiel.
While perhaps not quite as strong as seasons 1 & 2, season 3 of The Twilight Zone continued to be exception TV that still holds up today.
The Demented Blu-Ray Review (Anchor Bay)
The Demented is another entry into the zombie film genre, this one drawing its inspiration from films like 28 Days Later where the “zombies” are actually people who are infected with a rabies like disease making them crazed and attacking anyone they see with abandon AND full speed but also meaning they can be killed as normal humans are as opposed to just shooting them in the head. The Demented has a couple of things going for it that other low-budget films of similar ilk do not. Often times in zombie films we hear about the infected being the result of some viral or biological outbreak but rarely do we see it actually happen. This is not the case with The Demented.
Six college friends have gathered at the friend Howard’s home in Louisiana (while their parents are away) for a weekend of sun, fun, and beer. Howard receives a call from his father about a possible terrorist attack along the Gulf Coast but the phone goes dead before he can gather any details. Soon after, a missile strikes in the distance, causing a plume of green smoke to mushroom up on the horizon. As the group of friends debate their next move the first indication of trouble comes in the form of a dog with a chewed off ear and flies buzzing about its head that attacks them, causing them to take refuge in the house. Soon after, several salivating maniacs come crashing through the windows of the house, scattering the group. As the small group of friends takes refuge in an upstairs bedroom, they realize that they have to somehow get to their car and get away to find safety.
I mentioned a couple of things that the film has going for it…the second is that the infected stand absolutely motionless when they don’t have a target on which to focus. In this regard they are similar to the Nurses in the Silent Hill videogame and film franchise. This adds an element of creepiness to the infected as there are several scenes where the group attempts to sneak by them while they are motionless. Director/Writer Christopher Roosevelt keeps the action moving for the most part, giving us just enough character development even though it might be stereotypical such as the white kid who is going to be a lawyer while the black kid is the football star. There’s an unnecessary bit of drama involving one of the girls sleeping with another’s boyfriend that ultimately goes nowhere.
The male actors are frankly boring and wooden in their delivery but the female leads including Kayla Elwell (The Vampire Diaries) and Sarah Butler (I Spit on Your Grave) are vastly superior and fun to watch. The makeup effects are strictly bargain basement but the infected run so fast that you rarely get a decent look at them anyway.
Marvel Select Ghost Rider and Green Goblin Re-releases
Released by; Diamond Select Toys
Hey look all of us who are action figure fans love Marvel Select figures from Diamond Select Toys but if you missed them upon initial release the only way to get them was on the secondary market and often at inflated prices. Thankfully Diamond Select sees fit to throw collectors who missed these figures a bone now and then by re-releasing some of these classic figures. This time are giving us Ghost Rider and The Green Goblin.
The Green Goblin is the original John Romita version which was inspired by the cover to Amazing Spider-Man #39 from 1966 featuring a triumphant Green Goblin with Peter Parker, exposed as Spider-Man, tied up and helpless. The Goblin comes with his Goblin Glider which fits onto a display base, pumpkin bomb, and satchel. The first thing that stands out about this figure is the maniacal look on the Green Goblin’s face. His bright yellow eyes are wide and crazed as he smiles a tooth-bearing grin. Meanwhile, Peter Park has a grimace of pain on his face as he struggles to free himself.
The detail on the Goblin is fantastic, with small raised dots on the green portions of his body to give the look of scales that are mixed with bulging vessels on his thigh and bicep muscles. His purple shirt, boots, gloves and hat have a textured look with folds and touches of black paint to bring out the shading. With 12 points of articulation, GG isn’t as articulated as other Marvel Select figures. He is jointed at the neck, shoulders, gloves, wrists, waist, hips, boots and ankles. The only problem with the figure is that he’s molded solid at the knees in a permanent crouch which means that he’s only going to look right if posed on his Goblin Glider. I’m not crazy about that but at he does have a good amount of flexibility when put on the glider. Otherwise he’s looking as if he’s crouching down to take a dump. In the crouched position he stands about 5” tall and the wingspan of the glider is a little over 6”.
The Peter Parker figure is molded solid so it has no movement and is about 6 ½” long. Parker is dressed in white dress shirt and green pants (green pants?) which are torn open to reveal his Spider-Man costume since this was the issue that The Green Goblin discovered Parker’s secret Identity. Thus, while cool, the Parker figure is a mere accessory. Mania Grade: B
The Ghost Rider Marvel Select figure features the Johnny Blaze version of the character which has always been my preferred version. He comes dressed in his blue jumpsuit with black gloves and boots. Marvel Select is always first rate when it comes to paint jobs and Ghost Rider is no difference. Unlike many of the more mass market action figures that are often lacking in details, this figure has a first rate sculpt and paint scheme. Not only are folds molded into his pants and coat but the folds are accentuated by black paint to emphasize the texture and shading in the outfit. The outfit is also sketched with smudges and scrapes to reflect Johnny Blaze’s profession as a stunt motorcyclist.
Ghost Rider’s head is the strongest aspect of this figure. Look at it closely…the skull itself is painted in a light gray color as opposed to white. The teeth are incredible and outlined in fine, dark lines. There are flecks of darker gray or perhaps even brown throughout the skull which gives the head an aged look. Ghost Rider’s head is shrouded in flames that is molded in a translucent orange plastic and highlighted with yellow paint that makes the figure appear to glow when in front of a light. The flames however are going backward instead of straight up as if he’s riding his motorcycle and the flames are being blown back.
Ghost Rider is articulated at his neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. The hip articulation only allows the leg to move forward and back, not out and in which does limit the posability a bit but is also fairly standard. Movement of the head is limited by the wide color of his suit as well. Ghost Rider comes with a base that is a flaming piece of road that features four hands reaching up out of Hell and through the road to try and grab him. One of the hands actually fits over his foot when put onto the base which lends to the look that he is being grabbed by a minion from Hell. The base has the same kind of translucent orange plastic with yellow flame highlights.
Now some people have complained that a problem with the figure is that it does not come with a motorcycle. Adding a motorcycle would also have added to the cost I think. Ghost Rider has to get off his bike often to fight so I don’t have a problem with this exclusion. And again, the base with the fiery hands makes it great for display.
Both the Green Goblin and Ghost Rider re-releases come with new packaging including new front and back graphics. Mania Grade: B+