Tons to talk about in Tuesday Terrors this week. Lots of big news going around about casting and new films. We’ve got several new trailers and reviews to check out.
Did anyone watch Supernatural last week? They mentioned that there’s only two episodes left until the “season finale”. I found it interesting they said “Season” and not “Series”. There’s been a lot of speculation about whether or not the show would return for an 8th season and I’d say this was a good sign that it will. Star Jared Padelecki has been quoted as saying he is hoping it returns.
THE TERRIFYING NEWS!
Trailer for Dead Stop - We’ve got the first trailer for Dead Stop, about a group of teenagers who set out on a ski trip only to have their vacation thwarted when their van breaks down in the middle of the California desert. One by one, the teenagers mysteriously disappear. With limited water and food supplies, they must make a choice to stay in the van or take their chances going out into the desert to look for help.
Dexter Season 7 to feature The Punisher – Well ok, not technically but Ray Stevenson who starred in Punisher: War Zone is set to join the cast of Dexter Season 7 to a high-ranking member of an Eastern European crime ring who arrives in Miami determined to learn who killed one of his associates.
Hammer Films planning a feature on the Winchester House – It’s regarded as perhaps the most haunted house in the United States. The sprawling, unique home with doors that open into brick walls and stairways which lead to nowhere has mystified people for decades. Hammer has optioned all rights to develop and produce the feature film with Imagination Design Works (IDW) and Nine/8 Entertainment, it was announced today by Simon Oakes, Vice-Chairman of Exclusive Media and President & CEO of Hammer, and Guy East and Nigel Sinclair, Co-Chairmen of Exclusive Media.
Production on the supernatural horror film currently in development will be overseen by Exclusive Media’s Tobin Armbrust, President of Worldwide Production and Acquisitions, and Shira Rockowitz, Director of Development and Production. Brett Tomberlin and Antonia Lianos will produce for Imagination Design Works, Inc along with Andrew Trapani and Brian Gilbert for Nine/8 Entertainment.
“The Winchester House has a rich and compelling history. The story behind how it was built has attracted a great deal of attention over the years and we are excited to bring that mythology to film,” said Tobin Armbrust. “We are also thrilled, and terrified, that the House has allowed us to film on the premises”.
Disney to adapt Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book” – Neil Gaiman’s brilliant dark fantasy “The Graveyard Book” is going to be adapted into a film by Disney. The novel concerns the life of Nobody Owens, a boy raised by the dead in a cemetery.
Sam Raimi to Produce remake of Poltergeist – It has been confirmed that Sam Raimi will produce a remake of Poltergeist. The original film was directed by Tobe Hooper and released in 1982 with Steven Spielberg producing and told the story of a malevolent spectral force that tries to take daughter of a Californian family.
Trailer for Hotel Transylvania – After Previous European trailers were posted then taken down, finally we have an official trailer for Sony’s Hotel Transylvania. The 3D animated film will feature the voices of Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Cee-Lo Green, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon and David Koechner.
Stephen King’s Eyes of the Dragon in development – The good news is that Stephen King’s 1980’s fantasy novel, Eyes of the Dragon is in development for either a TV movie or mini-series…the bad news is that it’s being developed by the SyFy network. Cross your fingers…
Trailer for IFC’s new thriller “Entrance” – When Suziey, a beautiful Silverlake hipster, mysteriously loses her beloved dog, a creeping anxiety begins to set in and she decides she's had enough of L.A.. But on the night of her going-away party, Suziey finds out that leaving might not be so easy. Check out the trailer below.
Asylum Press announces Zombie Terrors digital comic series - Zombie Terrors (ongoing series) is an anthology of the undead. It gathers together artists and writers from all over the world to have their hand at everyone’s favorite brain eaters. Issues 1-5 will feature content form the Zombie terrors TPB released in 2010, and issues 6 and on will feature all new content.
Zombie Terrors will be available on iPhone, iPad, Android, PC/Mac, Comixology. Comics+ (Iverse), Graphicly, Diamond Digital as well as stand alone apps and epubs on KindleFire, Nook, Kobo, ibookstore, and Googlebooks.
“We’re very excited about the possibility of reaching so many people all over the world, “ explains publisher Frank Forte, “tablets and smart phone ownership is exploding and we want to provide great comics content. The one obstacle we face is coordinating releases an all platforms and devices. We’ll be updating which comics are available on which platforms on our website.”
Zombie Terrors #1 is a morbid flesh rotting collection of zombie tales.
Walking Dead Series 2 Figures to feature Well Zombie & Bicycle Girl- A rotten, bloated zombie surprise resting at the bottom of Hershel's water well that the survivors eventually attempt to hoist out by using Glen as bait. This is, by far, one of the sickest looking zombies seen yet on the series, and our figure is one dead on, stomach-churning replica. The 5-inch action figure includes 9 points of articulation with a pull-apart play-action that reveals his soft gooey guts inside! Accessories include attached rope and canned ham.
The maimed zombie girl shown crawling next to her bicycle in a park turned out to be one of the most iconic zombies from season 1. She is also the first zombie Deputy Rick Grimes encountered in the season 1 opener. The 5-inch tall action figure features an eerie reaching motion play-action while lying on her base. Accessories include a damaged cell phone and jeans, as seen in webisodes.
Trailer for new found footage film Area 407 – After taking off on a flight from New York to Los Angeles on New Years Eve, the passengers of Flight 37A are soon sent into shock and alarm as the plane experiences severe turbulence. The relentless weather attack causes panic and terror amongst the passengers until the plane ultimately crashes in a remote government-testing reserve, AREA 407. Through footage captured by two teenage sisters, the accident and crash lead to further events that should not be viewed by the faint of heart. As they continue to film, it becomes apparent that the remaining survivors of Flight 37A may not survive the night.
Outpost: Rise of the Stepnaz begins shooting - Outpost: The Rise of the Spetnaz, the third film in the series, has begun principal photography on location in Glasgow and Yorkshire. In the third installment of the hit Nazi Zombie action horror movie, Outpost: Rise Of The Spetnaz, we discover the horrifying origins of these supernatural soldiers and see them in ferocious gladiatorial battle against the most ruthless and notorious of all military special forces: the Russian Spetsnaz.
DC Comics Lobo film names Director – Well they can’t seem to get a decent Superman movie made to save their lives but Warner Bros. is apparently full steam ahead on the development of a Lobo film. Warner Bros. has named Journey 2: The Mysterious Island director Brad Peyton for the DC Comics adaptation. Created in 1984, Lobo is a Czarnian bounty hunter who, as a nearly indestructible anti-hero and bounty hunter who drives a space-faring motorcycle across the cosmos in search of his next target. No word on casting as of yet.
THE HORRIFYING REVIEWS
The Wicker Tree (Anchor Bay Entertainment) Blu-ray
The Wicker Tree is a semi-sequel to The Wicker Man, and by that I mean the original, 1973 film, not the God-awful Nic Cage 2006 remake. The film is written and directed by Robin Hardy, the man who directed the original film so there’s definitely a nice pedigree to start with, but unfortunately there’s not much else.
A former Britney Spears-style pop star, now turned Christian Evangelist singer Beth Boothby, is sent on a mission along with her cowboy boyfriend Steve to Scot to preach the gospel of the Lord. Once there they meet Lord and Lady Morrison who greet them warmly but almost immediately reveal their insidious plans for the two hayseeds from Texas, robbing the film of any hint of suspense. The villagers go out of their way to be nice but Beth and Steve seem to be the only ones who can’t figure out that the village is looking at them like hungry diners eyeing a turkey on Thanksgiving. They share with Beth and Steve the myths of their Celtic Goddess Sulis which the pair of Christians find reprehensible.
We basically know what will eventually happen to the pair about 20 minutes into the film and thus have to sit through nearly an hour Beth singing hymns and the villagers singing Scottish folk songs while Steve begins to have a crisis of faith after being tempted by the local shrew. The impression leaves you with the feeling that Hardy has a rather low opinion of Americans, lumping us all into the category of being slang-talking rednecks and simpletons. The intimation is that they could not find any locals stupid enough to be duped into being a sacrifice for a pagan ceremony so they decided to get a couple of dumb cowpokes.
The Wicker Tree is especially disappointing in light of the terrible Wicker Man remake from which Hardy completely distanced himself. You’ve have thought this was going to be his triumphant reply to the remake, particularly since its been 21 years since his last film. But in the end the film falls with a quiet and dull thud. The only saving grace is a cameo by the great Christopher Lee, who starred in the original movie, playing a similar but different character.
The Divide (Anchor Bay Entertainment) Blu-Ray
We go from a Director who seems to hate Americans to a Director who seems to hate people in general. Wow, Xavier Gens reduces humans to their basest, primal instincts in his tale of survivors of a nuclear attack in New York City. Gens offers no explanation at all for the attack that begins the film. Who’s attacking us and why? We never do find out. All we know is a group of people rush to the basement of their apartment complex, which the building super Mickey (Michael Biehn), a former firefighter, has turned, into a bomb shelter. The survivors include brothers Josh (Milo Ventimiglia) and Adrien and friend Bobby; Marilyn (Rosanna Arquette) and her young Daughter; and Eva (Lauren German) and her boyfriend Sam.
After the initial shock of the attack the will to survive begins to take over. Mickey will not let anyone leave the basement for fear of the radiation fallout and things quickly become contentious within the group as they bicker over the next course of action and deal with sharing a small space. Up to this point The Divide is moving nicely and even though there’s virtually no development of any of the characters beyond the basics, you can see their attitudes adjust to the stress.
Gens derails the film when a handful of soldiers dressed in hazmat suits bust in the door, steal Marilyn’s daughter and attempt to kill the rest. Somehow, they manage to kill several heavily armed and trained soldiers…yeah right. And then manage to figure how to outfit and utilize the high-tech suits…yeah right again. Josh puts on the suit and leaves long enough to find that the enemy…whoever in the Hell they may be…are performing experiments. An ID badge has a name that is Asian but is spelled out in English so go figure. If Gens wasn’t going to reveal who was behind the attack then why even include this in the film? It’s a clumsy break in the tone of the film.
Once locked in the shelter again the survivors fall apart…fighting over dwindling resources, torturing and raping each other in a Lord of the Flies apocalyptic scenario. Frankly I had lost interest. The characters are all extremely unlikable and were given no reason to root for any of them. Mickey’s background of being a firefighter and having a family at the time of the 911 attacks is hinted but never developed. There are some strong and intense performances, particularly from Biehn and Ventimiglia. And Arquette is over-the-top crazy as the mom driven over the edge. Too bad Gens didn’t give us a reason to care about any of the characters.
7 Below (ARC Entertainment) DVD Review
The description on the cover to 7 Below describes it as “A supernatural thriller in the vein of The Ring and The Grudge”…Yeah…not so much. The decent cast includes Val Kilmer, Luke Goss, and Ving Rhames in a haunted house thriller that is far too short on thrills for most horror fans. A group of five tourists are traveling in taxi van when the driver is spooked by an apparition in the road and crashes into a tree. Ving Rhames is Jack who lives nearby and gives the group a ride back to his home to avoid an oncoming storm.
Kilmer’s character Bill was injured in the crash and he’s put in a bedroom to rest. Fortunately for him one of the travelers is a doctor and another is a med student. Jack keeps insisting the group must remain at the house due to the “terrible storm” although Director Kevin Carraway does a terrible job of convincing viewers that this is anything worse than the average thunderstorm. Despite tornado warnings the group is constantly going outside where there barely seems to be a breeze. Adam, the Med Student does try to leave but finds a tree blocking the ONLY road. He does however find Courtney, a convenience store employee and brings her back to Jack’s farmhouse.
Soon all of the guests are seeing and hearing things…children laughing, and the specter of a young boy murdering his sisters with a knife. They are trapped within the house, repeating a cycle of violence that began 100 years ago, Jack creeps around the house spouting ominous lines like Bela Lugosi out of an old horror movie. I love Kilmer, Goss, and Rhames. They’re a lot of fun to watch but boy did they step into one horribly scripted and senseless production here.
Carraway pulls out every last horror film cliché he can think of…the block road preventing escape, a car that mysteriously becomes disabled, phantoms appearing in a mirror or in bed with one of the characters, etc…I have no clue as to what Ving Rhames’ character was supposed to be and then Carraway mucks things up with a terrible ending. Outside of some fine, although massive scene-chewing performances, there’s little reason to watch this snooze-fest.
The Shadow #1
Published by: Dynamite Entertainment
Written by: Garth Ennis
Art by: Aaron Campbell
The Shadow may seem an odd inclusion in a column dedicated to horror but if you know the history of the avenging crime fighter it’s not so odd at all. The Shadow got his start on the radio in 1930 and then in pulp magazines in 1931. He would inspire Bob Kane to create Batman as he battled foes both ordinary and supernatural with his twin .45 caliber pistols as well as his abilities to cloud men’s minds and make himself virtually invisible. DC tried an update of the character in the mid-1980s but set in modern times. However the Shadow is a character that belongs in the Art Deco area of the 1930s with its gangsters, evil scientists, and yellow menace threats. Thankfully this is exactly where writer Garth Ennis sets his version of the Shadow.
It’s the late 1930s and before the United States has got involved in World War II. The Shadow is on the trail of a pair of Japanese Army Intelligence operatives who have arrived in New York and are looking to procure the mysterious contents contained in the hold of a ship. The Shadow tears apart their henchmen but the two agents and nowhere to be found. The following day, the Shadow, in his guise of wealthy playboy Lamont Cranston, meets with member of the U.S. Army intelligence to coordinate efforts.
In truth, not a whole lot happens in the first issue but Ennis nicely sets the stage by giving us a glimpse of the sheer terror the Shadow strikes in men as well as his special abilities. Ennis utilizes the Lamont Cranston identity which is the most well-know on the Shadow’s guises but just one of many. In fact it would be a number of years in the pulps before the Shadow’s true name would be revealed as Kent Allard. Ennis has done his homework, as he introduces or mentions several of the Shadow’s legion of agents including Margo Lane, Harry Vincent, and Moe Shrevnitz.
And lets not overlook the art of Aaron Campbell who style conjures up similarities to the Mike Kaluta version for DC Comics in the 1970s. His work is dark and moody but also captures the essence of the 1930s perfectly. The Shadow is back! Grade A
Vampirella: The Red Room #1
Published By Dynamite Entertainment
Written By Dan Brereton
Art by Jean Diaz
In this new Vampirella series from Dynamite, our favorite vampire vixen is in Arkansas, searching for a vampire who is leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake. But why is a fellow vampire being so careless? Vampirella is determined to find out. After nearly capturing her quarry but getting injured in the attempt, she is aided by a retired sheriff nick-named “Shooter”. They track the vampire to a private club where they discover a secret, underground, cage-fighting league that pits vampire vs. vampire in battles to the death. In order to enter, Vampirella has to enter herself into the fights and battle not only a giant vamp but the female whom shooter has been searching for.
I kind of like the idea of a vampire-styled MMA but honestly I can’t see why a vampire would want to take part. Seems to me like a vampire’s immortality is about the most important thing to them next to feeding and why they’d willing take part in fights where they could be killed, regardless of the reward seems a bit preposterous.
Jean Diaz’ art is very clean although his Vampirella isn’t the most attractive I’ve ever seen and there’s a handful of panels where the proportions are off a bit. While the story may be a little silly I’m still interested in seeing how it all plays out. Grade B-
Tim Janson is a columnist and reviewer for Mania Entertainment. He writes Level Up, the weekly look at videogames 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.