Welcome back to Tuesday Terrors! This week we’ve got casting news for Dexter Season 8, American Horror Story Season 3, and a ton of other news. We’ve also got reviews of two films and two books!
THE HORRIFYING NEWS!
Escapee coming from Anchor Bay April 16th. While on an observational trip to a high security prison for the criminally insane, young psychology student Abby Jones (Christine Evangelista) has a chilling encounter with psychotic serial killer Harmon Porter (Dominic Purcell). Abby returns home that night to study with her two roommates, unaware of the dark forces she’s unleashed within Harmon.
That evening, while a hurricane rages through town, Harmon slashes his way out of jail, leaving a brutal trail of bloody bodies in his quest to possess the body and soul of Abby Jones.
Dexter Season 8 adds cast members. Dexter is adding two new cast members for season 8, British actress Charlotte Rampling playing a neuro-psychiatrist who specializes in working with young psychopaths and profiling criminals in unorthodox ways. Also joining is Sean Patrick Flanery as a private investigator.
The Walking Dead in Black & White! With season 3 of The Walking Dead ready to continue next week, AMC also plans to air black & white versions of the first two seasons, starting this month. Previously, only the pilot episode had been screened in this format, but February will see all 18 episodes from season one and two of The Walking Dead in monochrome format, giving the series a Universal Monsters feel as well as mimicking the artistic style of the comic.
American Horror Story 3 Casting News. It has already been confirmed that Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, and Sarah Paulson will be returning for American Horror Story season 3. Now it has been announced that Lily Rabe who played Sister Mary Eunice in American Horror Story: Asylum will also be returning for season 3.
Ron Howard on Gaiman’s Graveyard Book? One of my favorite books of the past few years was Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. Talk of a film has been on again off again over the past couple of years with Disney originally looking at doing a stop-motion animated take on the modern, dark fantasy. Now comes word that Ron Howard is in talks to direct a live-action version. The novel concerns the life of Nobody Owens, a boy raised by the dead in a cemetery.
Shadow People coming in March from Anchor Bay. Anchor Bay will be releasing the new supernatural thriller Shadow people on March 19th. The film is based on a true story about small town radio personality Charlie Crowe (Dallas Roberts, The Walking Dead) who unravels a conspiracy about encounters with mysterious beings. These “Shadow People” were the cause of hundreds of unexplained deaths. He encounters CDC Epidemic Intelligence Agent Sophie Lancombe (Allison Eastwood), whose investigations entwine her with Charlie’s own discoveries leading them both into a dark world and a decades old cover-up.
Trailer for Blind Alley. In a tiny laundrette hidden down an alleyway, Rosa (De Armas) finds herself trapped, completely isolated and unable to escape the nightmarish situation of being attacked by a serial killer. At the break of dawn and after hours of anguish, immersed in the sadistic game of rat and mouse the killer has subjected her to, the young girl will discover something even more disturbing about the nature of her aggressor.
Red Band Trailer for Tulpa. Here’s a trailer for an Italian horror film from Director Federico Zampaglione, director of award-winning Shadow. he film concerns Lisa Boeri, a respectable and upwardly mobile businesswoman who by night, frequents the notorious sex club "Tulpa" in search of dangerous forms of pleasure. When her lovers start getting murdered in horrible ways, she tries to deal with it herself with truly nightmare consequences.
Fright Pix Channel launches on Roku. Screen Media Ventures, owner of Popcornflix, today announced the launch of FrightPIX. FrightPIX launches with over 100 feature-length horror films and will be adding 30 additional films each month. Like Popcornflix, FrightPIX is ad supported and free to the viewer. The new channel boasts a wide range of horror genres, including the Creature Feature, Slasher, Splatter, Zombie, Supernatural, Creepy, Cult, Demon and Gothic categories.
Evil Dead Opening move up one week. Producer Bruce Campbell tweeted the following recently about the opening of the Evil Dead remake, “The world cannot wait. The Evil Dead remake launches one week earlier! 4/5/13. You demanded it - you got it!" Can I get a Hell Yeah!
Evil Dead backs off NC-17 rating. Originally slapped with an NC-17 rating (guess we’ll have to wait for the DVD release) Director Fede Alvarez had to do some cutting to get down to an “R” rating and thus get the film a wide release. Still you can’t help but think that’s good to hear!
Clip from Girls Against Boys. Here’s a new clip from the revenge-fueled Girls Against Boys. When Shae, a naïve college student, is tormented by several men in a matter of days, she reaches her breaking point, and is drawn into coworker Lu’s twisted plan for revenge. Together, the two embark on a gruesome killing spree, terrorizing and brutally murdering not just their attackers, but any man who gets in their way. However, after a wild weekend of retaliation, the friendship between the girls shifts into a dangerous obsession, and their perverse game becomes a desperate struggle for Shae to maintain control against Lu’s deadly and seductive influence. Danielle Panabaker, Nicole LaLiberte, Liam Aiken and Michael Stahl-David star.
Zombieland series coming to Amazon. A TV series based on the 2009 zombie comedy is being developed for Amazon. Planned for 30-minute episodes, the "television" version of "Zombieland" returns the franchise to its original concept of an ongoing serialized comedy adventure. As revealed in the casting breakdowns, Zombieland will blend familiar characters from the feature film with brand new characters specifically for the series.
Scream Factory’s bonus content for Phantasm II Collector’s Edition. Here’s a rundown on what you will find on the March 5 release:
THE TERRIFYING REVIEWS
Brian Keene’s Ghoul DVD Review
I’m a fan of Brian Keene although I have never read the novel upon which this made-for-TV film was based. Somehow I bet Keene thinks that the director and screenwriter also didn’t read his novel. Keene’s novel of a supernatural monsters that lives beneath a small town cemetery is turned into a repellent film about child abuse with not one, but two children abused by their parents, one physically and one sexually.
The film plays like an extended episode of Goosebumps and were it not for the sexual abuse angle it would probably rate no worse in terms of its content. Three friends, Timmy, Barry, and Doug have built an underground fort in the local cemetery. The town has an urban myth about a creature called the ghoul that was seen by several men during a mining accident years earlier. When several local teenagers are killed or disappear, the boys begin to investigate the old tunnels beneath the cemetery. And would that were what the film was all about. Even it was tame at least it might be entertaining.
Instead we get far more of the child abuse angle as Barry is constantly slapped around by his dad, the cemetery’s drunken caretaker, and Doug is sexually abused by his mother because she desperately needs affection after his father left them. And the clueless adults do nothing. That’s the real horror and its hardly entertaining.
The film pulls a total bait and switch compared to the book turning a supernatural monster into little more than the average Scooby Doo villain. The acting on the part of the kids who have to carry the film is atrocious. In particular, Nolan Gould (of Modern Family) who plays the lead kid role of Timmy is as wooden as they come which is strange because the kid has an extensive resume. Not even worth a watch on free TV.
Weird Horrors and Daring Adventures Joe Kubert (Fantagraphics) Book Review
When you think about the late, great Joe Kubert you naturally think of titles like Hawkman and Sgt. Rock, or the other titles he was associated with during his many years at DC Comics. But like many young artists in the 1940s and 1950s, Kubert went where the work was and worked on many other genres besides superhero and military titles. Weird Horrors and Daring Adventures takes a comprehensive look at Kubert’s work on such titles as Eerie, Black Cat, Strange Worlds, Weird Horrors, Planet Comics, and many others. These tales run the gamut of horror, crime, supernatural, and adventure tales
Kubert’s style probably was not suited for traditional, EC Comics style horror. His dynamic ability worked better on action titles, but there’s still a lot of very cool material in this book. “Bloody Yesterday” is a weird war tale about an American soldier who falls unconscious and has a vision of a previous life as a Roman soldier battling the picts. Then there is “Attack on Mars” a pure pulp fiction style Sci-Fi story. An odd inclusion since this is only part one of a story and the next chapter is not included but I suppose Fantagraphics was going for a cross-genre variety.
“The Mirror of Isis” definitely fits the category of weird horror as an ancient power reaches across time through a mirror to seek revenge. You get western themed tales, lurid, sexually charged dramas like Success or Else” from the pages of Hollywood Confessions, true crime stories, even comedies. One of my favorite stories is “The Golem” based on Jewish myth. It’s the longest story in the book and just outstanding. You can tell that Kubert, being Jewish himself, put great effort into this story.
These stories are presented in the original forms and are uncensored. There’s certainly some wartime material here that today could be considered racist as it paints typical stereotypes of the Germans and Japanese but like it or not this was the rule in the day, not the exception. Kubert had yet to refine his finer style that made him one of the best of all-time but even in these early stories you can see the ability of a future master of the medium. We just lost Kubert last year and thus we lost one of the few remaining greats who plied his trade from the Golden Age to the Modern Age of comic books. This book serves as a testimonial to his incredible skill to tell a story.
The House at the End of the Street (20th Century Fox) Blu-ray Review
I’ve never known anyone who bought a house without seeing it in person. Yet have you noticed this seems to happen ALL the time in movies? And this is how we open House at the End of the Street as divorced Sarah Cassidy (Shue) and daughter Elissa (Lawrence), move into a new house in a small, but upscale town. The house next door to them was the scene of a double murder two years earlier when a mother and father were bludgeoned to death by their teenaged daughter. The house has been empty since and a blight on neighborhood property values. Only…it’s not so empty. Oh yeah, the real estate agent relates the college age son of the victims, Ryan Jacobson now lives there alone.
To say that House At the End of the Street stumbled out of the gate would be an understatement. The clumsy set defies logic. Is it really worse that the son moved back to the only home he’s ever had rather than the house being empty for four years? More clumsiness comes in the way of a chance meeting between Ryan and Elissa as she leaves from a party to walk home…ten miles away, and he just happens to be in the neighborhood to give her a lift. Not just bad writing but lazy writing. THEY LIVE RIGHT NEXT DOOR! Wouldn’t one think they would run into each other like most neighbors do?
Elissa is immediately drawn to the shy, withdrawn Ryan who has become the object of scorn in town. Max Thieriot gives an understated performance and draws us in—almost. Max does his best to channel Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates. But while Psycho was original in its idea, this “Psycho lite” sends up all sorts of ref flags. Ryan is hiding a secret. After murdering their parents his sister supposedly drowned but her body was never found. Ryan keeps his brain damaged sister locked up in a secret room in the basement, lovingly caring for her and keeping her from harming others.
But hey you already know that these types of films always, ALWAYS come with a twist. Ryan can’t possibly be as nice and shy as he seems (he isn’t) and shuttered away sister Carrie-Ann can’t possibly be as mentally unstable as were told (she’s not). In fact if we quickly think back to the opening sequence when Carrie-Ann murdered her parents, the pieces fall into place like the tumblers on a cheap lock.
Still all is not lost. Jennifer Lawrence gives a standout performance, giving us a teenaged character that actually seems like a teenager and not a cliché of every other teenager from a horror film. Shue, who’s last “big” film was the cheesy gorefest Piranha 3D, is also enjoyable as the distracted mother, even if her character is cookie cutter. House at the End of the Street is filled with jump out of your street moments but ultimately goes only as far as its fractured script will take it.
Animal Man Vol. 2 Animal Vs. Man (DC comics)
This volume collects animal Man #7-11 and 0 and Animal Man Annual #1. Buddy Baker is on the road with his family, travelling in an RV to try and find Alec Holland, The Swamp Thing. Buddy’s daughter is the new Avatar of the Red and she needs to ally with Swamp Thing to stop the ravages of The Rot, a destructive force that wants to wipe out all life. Along the way they are constantly accosted by animals that the Rot has taken over but his daughter displays tremendous power, even surprising the hierarchy of The Red when she is able to leave her body to enter the Red and regrow her body again.
Along the way they are assisted by John Constantine, although in his usual mysterious way, never wanting to give up too much information or speak plainly. The biggest development of this collection was that Swamp Thing’s old nemesis, Anton Arcane is revealed to be the champion of The Rot.
While writer Jeff Lemire’s story is definitely influenced by Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing in the mid-1980s, I suppose if you’re going to emulate anyone or any story, you could do much worse than Moore’s incredible work in revamping that title nearly 30 years ago. The horror elements are quite strong although the book has several dead spots along its road trip to hell. The Art of Travel Foreman and Dan Green is superb and has a visceral quality that matches the tone of the book perfectly.