Joe Dante Returns to Horror. Joe Dante of Gremlins and The Howling fame returns to the horror genre this September with The Hole. Susan and her sons Dane and Lucas Thompson move from Brooklyn to Bensonville, in the countryside. Dane is upset with the constant changes of address and the family has lived in many cities. Lucas and Dane befriend their next door neighbor, the gorgeous Julie and the brothers find a bottomless hole in the basement of their house locked with several padlocks. They take the locks off and sooner they are haunted by their darkest fears. Further, they believe that the hole might be a gateway to Hell.
First Trailer for Citadel. Tommy Cowley (Aneurin Barnard) lives a quiet life in a decaying apartment complex with his highly pregnant wife. The couple is attacked one day by a group of hooded young thugs, and after a shocking act of violence, Tommy is left to raise his newborn daughter alone. So shaken by the events that he’s developed extreme agoraphobia, Tommy alternates days hiding out indoors in his new flat from imagined threats and intense therapy sessions aimed at bringing him back to normalcy.
When the same hooded gang, seemingly intent on kidnapping his daughter, begins terrorizing his life again, he’s torn between his paralyzing fear and protective parental instinct. With the help of a vigilante priest who has uncovered the genesis of this ruthless, potentially supernatural gang, Tommy must overcome his fears and venture into the heart of the abandoned tower block known as the Citadel to save his family.
Winner of the Midnighter Audience Award at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival, CITADEL brings a fresh take to classic horror by raising the question: How can you protect your family from evil when you’re afraid of everything?
FDR: American Badass! It had to happen…we had Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and now we got FDR, Werewolf hunter. The shocking secret history of our 32nd American President is finally revealed in the triple-threat action/horror/comedy FDR: AMERICAN BADASS, available on DVD September 25th from Screen Media. A sensation at this year’s Comic-Con, the film stars Barry Bostwick, of TV’s “Spin City,” “Cougar Town” and The Rocky Horror Picture Show fame, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who, after being left crippled by a werewolf bite, decides to run for President in order to stop a global werewolf curse controlled by Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito.
Joining Bostwick in the ass-kicking fun is a who’s who of cult film and television stars, including Lin Shaye as Eleanor Roosevelt, Kevin Sorbo as Abraham Lincoln, and Ray Wise as Douglas MacArthur.
Smiley coming in October…See the trailer! The film will get a limited theatrical release on October 14th. The story of the film follows a mentally fragile college student named Ashley (Caitlin Gerard) who, after learning of an urban legend in which a mysterious serial killer named “Smiley” can be summoned through the Internet, must decide whether she is losing her mind or becoming Smiley's next victim. Smiley also stars Melanie Papalia and Andrew James Allen, with Roger Bart, Keith David and Liza Weil rounding out the cast.
The Return of Morbius the Living Vampire! Morbius the Living Vampire returns to the Marvel Universe in January in a new series from the team of Joe Keatinge and Rich Elson. Said Keatinge in a recent interview, “There are very strong horror elements to it, but there's a lot more to it than that," said Keatinge in an interview with Newsarama. "The closest comic I can even think of in terms of the types of stuff we're doing in here might be Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol run, but we're ultimately having a very different end result.”
Official trailer for Rosewood Lane. Rosewood Lane is the name of the latest thriller from director Victor Salva (Jeepers Creepers). Rose McGowan (Grindhouse) stars, playing Sonny Blake, a radio talk show therapist who moves back to her childhood home on seemingly idyllic Rosewood Lane after her alcoholic father dies. But upon arrival in the old neighborhood, Sonny discovers her neighbors are terrified of the local paperboy (Daniel Ross Owens). She thinks this is ridiculous, until she encounters the boy himself. It turns out that he is a cunning and dangerous sociopath, one who may have gruesomely killed her father...and others.
American Horror Story: Asylum Trailers. Check out the reel below for 5 short teaser trailers for American Horror story: Asylum, which is what season two is labeled.
Get an inside peek at Hammer’s new horror film. Hammer Studios has released a first look at its new horror film The Quiet Ones. Inspired by true events, The Quiet Ones tells the story of an unorthodox, but charismatic Professor (Harris) who uses controversial methods and leads his best students off the grid to take part in a dangerous experiment: To create a poltergeist from negative human energy.
Trailer for horror comedy The Revenant. This interesting sounding horror comedy has flown a bit under the radar but sure looks promising. A zombie horror movie/buddy comedy about Joey and his undead friend Bart who comes back from the dead as a revenant: an articulate zombie that needs to drink blood to arrest the decomposition of his body.
IFC Releasing Crowsnest on VOD and in theaters. IFC Midnight has revealed that the Canadian horror production, Crowsnest, is making its limited theatrical and VOD debut in the U.S. on September 7th. Described as Duel meets Deliverance, the film's synopsis goes like this: In late summer of 2011, five young friends celebrating a birthday went missing after an unexpected detour sent them crashing into an abandoned RV.
Video recorded by the victims & recovered by police reveals a horrific encounter with the twisted residents of a secluded community, entirely removed from civilization and not pleased at having visitors.
Trailer for The Barrens. The Barrens is the latest film from Darren Lynn Bousman and will star True Blood’s Stephen Moyer’s. It’s known as the Jersey Devil, the winged beast spawned 400 years ago by Satan himself. Some say this creature still inhabits the dense pine forests of southern New Jersey, where Richard Vineyard (Moyer) takes his family for a rustic weekend camping trip. As the Vineyard family ventures further into the woods in search of the perfect campsite, Richard teeters on the edge of sanity. Welcome to a new kind of horror that lives – and kills – in a place called The Barrens.
Warner Bros. passes on King’s Dark Tower. Following on the heels of Universal Studios passing on adapting Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, Warner Bros. has also decided to pass on the epic. Ron Howard had been mentioned as directing at least the first film in the series and Russell Crowe had been attached as playing the lead role of the Gunslinger.
Trailer for UK horror Truth or Die. Directed by Robert Heath, the film (Known as Truth or Dare in the UK) follows a group of college friends celebrate the end of term with a party to end all parties. During a drink and drug-fuelled evening, an innocent game of ‘Truth or Dare’ has a very sore loser, sparking a terrifying sequence of events and a whole new twist on the game of Truth or Dare – where the truth can kill you. Arrives on DVD October 9.
THE HORRIFYING REVIEWS
Creepy Presents Richard Corben (Dark Horse Comics Hardcover)
When it comes to magazine work I always associate Richard Corben first with Heavy Metal. But before he worked for that magazine he did some 40 stories for legendary magazines Creepy & Eerie from Warren Publications. Now, all 40 of Corben’s groundbreaking stories are gathered together in this huge 300 plus page hardcover tome, courtesy of Dark Horse comics. Once again, Dark Horse steps up to the plate and brings classic work back into the light.
The 40 stories include both black & white and color stories with full story credits and a gallery of Corben’s Creepy and Eerie cover gallery. If all you’ve ever seen is Corben’s color work, you are in for an incredible treat. Corben was always known for his vibrant and innovative use of color but his black & white work takes on the same lush quality in its shades of gray tones.
Some of the stories are written by Corben while others are written by some of the top comic writers of the 1970s like Doug Moench, Bill Dubay, Gerry Conway, Jan Strnad, and Bruce Jones. While Coren could certainly do a terrifying turn in his stories he could just as easily make you laugh such as in “Lycanlutz” where a goofball middle ages scientist arrives at a tiny realm plagued by a werewolf and promises to rid the land of the best with his special fleas.
A darker look at the werewolf comes in “Change…into something more comfortable” about a werewolf who terrorizes a town on Halloween night but runs into something much more dangerous than him. The story called “The Hero Within” seems like it might have been the basis for the Corben segment from the Heavy Metal film called “Den” where a young boy escapes into a fantasy world where he is a powerful warrior. One of the true highlights is Corben’s adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” which is a gorgeously illustrated and haunted piece of work.
From cover to cover Creepy Presents Richard Corben is a work that showcases one of the true living legends of the comic medium. Most of these stories have not seen the light of day in some 40 years which is far too long.
Shock Theatre Chicago Style By Donald F. Glut (McFarland Publishers) $35.00
If you grew up in the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s then you are a proud “monster kid”. You grew up in the Golden Age of great monster magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland, The Monster Times, and comic magazines like Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, Nightmare, and Witches Tales. You also grew up in the golden age era of horror film hosts. In that era nearly every big city, and many smaller cities had a locally produced program, usually Friday or Saturday nights which showed old horror films and was hosted by various quirky and crazy characters. You can read more about this in my Tuesday Terrors column from January which featured a history of horror movie hosts (here).
You had Zacherle in Philadelphia and later New York; Morgus in New Orleans; Chilly Billy in Pittsburgh; Ghoulardi in Chicago; and Count Core De Vol in Washington, DC, to name just a few. One of the earliest on the scene was Chicago’s Shock Theatre host, Marvin who debuted in December 1957. Don Glut’s book takes you back to those days from a fan’s first hand perspective. So taken with Marvin there is a picture in the book of Glut at his 14th birthday party, dressed exactly like Marvin in all black complete with turtleneck sweater and sunglasses.
Glut is able to transport readers back in time over 50 years to that fateful night in 1957 when Marvin hit the airwaves. Glut’s memory is so sharp and vivid that you can picture yourself sitting up close to that black & white TV as Marvin opens the show by descending the cellar stairs to welcome the viewers. Glut even recalls what films were shown each week…or at least he has done his research. Glut delves into the early beginnings of horror hosts around the nation and how Chicago got its own part of the Shock Theatre pie.
Glut’s reminiscences are aided by the inclusion of dozens of archival photographs from the show, including promotional shots, behind-the-scene shots, and stills taken directly from the show. There’s even one with a young Glut meeting his idol. Glut takes you from beginning to the bitter end when the show was canceled in 1959 despite a voracious letter campaign to save it. Glut even includes several of these letters in the book. Glut concludes with a fond look at the last show and follows that up with history of what happened to Marvin AKA Terry Bennett, after the show left the airwaves.
For fans of old horror films or old horror movie hosts, I cannot recommend this book any more emphatically. Glut takes us back to an era that will never come around again. An era when movie monsters were cool and horror movie hosts were even cooler.
The Art and Making of ParaNorman (Chronicle Books)
Made by the same people who brought you Coraline, ParaNorman has been one of the family hits of the summer and Chronicle Books gives you an inside look at the making of the stop-motion animated film in this lavishly illustrated hardcover book.
Up first is a visit to the studios of Laika, and a look at the stop-motion process which has its own unique language and storytelling tools which are vastly different from standard animated or computer animated films. Here’ you’ll visit with the writer, the story department, and the edit suite, to see a lot of the pre-productions sketches and artwork and see how classic horror films inspired the work.
The next, and for me the most fascinating part is developing the characters from the initial sketch phase to molding the figural maquettes, building the armatures to make them move, to the final digital process. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at how these figures are given so many varied expressions. It’s a meticulous process that has them baking literally dozens of facial molds, each with only the slightest change in movement in order to capture the character’s moods.
Besides the puppets themselves you’ll also get to see how the world of ParaNorman was built. Houses, shops, rundown alleys, the local school, the spooky woods…as noted in the book they do not shoot on location, they create the locations. They need to make everything you see from vehicles to trees and plants to lamps and chairs for inside the houses. The amount of time and the number of craftsmen it takes to bring a movie like this to life is simply mind boggling.
The book features hundreds of full color pictures and illustrations and while a bit more text would have been welcome, this is a wonderful look inside of how a stop-motion animated film is produced.
Hell Blu-ray Review (Arc Entertainment)
Hell is a German made post-apocalyptic horror film that serves to prove the Germans have a ways to go before catching up with us when it comes to making quality horror films. Set in 2018, the Earth has suffered a disaster when the temperature heats up 10 degrees Celsius (or 50 degrees Fahrenheit if I did my conversion correctly). No explanation is given for the radical temperature change but it results in worldwide disaster and leaving the world baking so much so that it never gets completely dark.
Three survivors Marie, her younger sister Leonie, and their friend Phillip are trying to make their way to the Bavarian Mountains where it is presumably cooler. By day they travel in a Volvo with all the windows covered and scavenge for food, gas, and water. While exploring an abandoned gas station they meet Tom, a mechanic who agrees to go along with them. When they stop for a bathroom break, road bandits steal their car, taking Leonie along with them. While Tom devises a plot to rescue the young girl, the cowardly Phillip drives off with Marie, leaving both Tom and Leonie behind in the hands of the bandits who plan to use the girl to help “grow” the family.
Ok, there have been a lot of these near future apocalyptic films over the past few years and if you want to jump into this already crowded field you better be able to have a unique take. Hell simply doesn’t offer anything new or interesting. The film move’s at a snail’s pace and offers little conflict. All of the characters are flat and lifeless and practically sleepwalk their way through the 90-minute film which feels much longer.
Director Tim Fehlbaum paints a bleak future world that is permeated with a dark, hazy atmosphere but unfortunately his science is a little hazy as well. Even Mercury has a dark side that is hundreds of degrees cooler than the side facing the sun. I’m also thinking that driving in a car with the windows covered and no air conditioning when it is likely well over 120 degrees is not a good idea. Why not travel at night when it’s cooler? In German with subtitles or dubbed in English.
If you’re looking for even more horror fun, be sure to check out Chuck Francisco’s Shock-O-Rama every Saturday right here at Mania: Shock-o-Rama.
Tim Janson is a columnist and reviewer for Mania Entertainment. He writes Level Up, the weekly look at videogames, From the Vault, a dig into genre films of years gone by, and the horror dedicated column, Tuesday Terrors. Tim has written for Fangoria, Newsarama, City Slab Magazine, Twitch Film, and Cinefantastique. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA). Be sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
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