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Tuesday Terrors: Clive Barker finishes The Scarlet Gospels
By Tim Janson
September 17, 2013
Welcome back to Tuesday Terrors, Mania’s one-stop spot for all things horror. This week we have four new film reviews:
This week in Tuesday Terrors, the column for all your horror needs we look at Clive Barker’s new book and review several new films including Frankenstein’s Army and Cockney’s Vs. Zombies.
The Hub Network’s First Annual Halloween Bash! Let’s start off this week for some family friendly horror fun…The Hub Network, a destination for kids and their families, will host the first “Hub Network’s First Annual Halloween Bash,” to be broadcast on Saturday, October 26, 2013 on the cable channel.
The special will be hosted by Kenan Thompson (“Saturday Night Live”), along with Halloween expert Martha Stewart who will lead a panel of celebrity judges, and includes music performances and a nationwide costume competition where 50 semi-finalists from each state will head to Los Angeles to be a part of the two-hour star-studded event.
One lucky winner will win $25,000 and a walk-on role on the Hub Network’s Daytime Emmy® Award-winning series, “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour: The Series.” The “Hub Network’s First Annual Halloween Bash” costume competition is open to all ages, including individuals or a maximum of five people per group submission.
For more information on how to enter, as well as to check out the latest entries, please visit www.hubworld.com/halloween The deadline to enter is Sunday, September 29, 2013.
Nicolas Cage and John Cusack in Frozen Ground. Based on the incredible true story of Alaska’s most notorious serial killer, The Frozen Ground arrives on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download on October 1st from LionsgateHome Entertainment. The Frozen Ground is currently available on Video on Demand. Starring Nicolas Cage (theNational Treasure franchise), John Cusack (Hot Tub Time Machine, 2012) and Vanessa Hudgens (upcoming Machete Kills, Spring Breakers), the engrossing crime drama reveals the untold story of an Alaskan State Trooper who risks everything to bring a murderer to justice.
The Frozen Ground follows Alaskan State Trooper Jack Halcombe (Cage) as he sets out to end the murderous rampage of Robert Hansen (Cusack), a serial killer who has gone unnoticed for 13 years. As the bodies of street girls start to pile up in Anchorage, fear strikes a chord with the public. Risking his life, Halcombe goes on a personal manhunt to find the killer before the next body surfaces. When a seventeen year old escapee (Hudgens) reveals key information about the case, Halcombe is finally on the trail of the killer. But will he catch him in time to save the next victim?
Trailer for Dark Touch. Prepare yourself for suspense with IFC Midnight's latest film, DARK TOUCH. French filmmaker Marina De Van's (In My Skin) latest eerie and intense thriller dives straight into the darkness that can possess a child's heart. In a remote town in Ireland, eleven-year-old Neve finds herself the sole survivor of a bloody massacre that killed her parents and younger brother. Suspecting a gang of homicidal vandals, the police ignore Neve’s explanation that the house is the culprit. An official selection at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, DARK TOUCH opens in select theaters, and will be available on cable VOD and digital outlets (including iTunes and SundanceNow) starting September 27th.
Cassadaga in theaters and On-Deman October 11. Archstone Distribution acquires the worldwide rights to director Anthony DiBlasi’s (The Midnight Meat Train, Dread) latest horror/thriller, Cassadaga, theaters and On Demand Oct. 11. Cassadaga stars Kelen Coleman (FOX’s “The Mindy Project,” Children of the Corn: Genesis) and Kevin Alejandro (HBO’s “True Blood,” CBS’s “Golden Boy”).
Cassadaga tells the story of Lily Morel (Kelen Coleman), a post-lingually deaf artist, who participates in a séance in the spiritualist community of Cassadaga. But instead of getting closure with her recently departed sister, Lily contacts the vengeful ghost of a murdered woman. As the ghost becomes increasingly angry and violent, Lily rushes to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding the woman’s death – a task that will bring her face-to-face with a sadistic serial killer who turns his victims into human marionette dolls.
Trailer for horror/comedy Ghost Team One! Ghost Team One follows two friends who are both trying to impress a girl who believes the spirit of a vengeful madam is haunting their home. They set out to make a documentary about a murder that took place in their house decades ago and, much to their surprise, soon capture some terrifying - and uproarious - supernatural activity that leads them to believe that the ghost is not only real…she’s also into them.
Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay to star in Frankenstein. "Downton Abbey" star Jessica Brown Findlay has taken the female lead in 20th Century Fox's upcoming Frankenstein. The Hollywood Reporter has the news, saying that she'll play an injured trapeze artist who comes under the care of Dr. Frankenstein (James McAvoy) and Igor (Daniel Radcliffe).
American Horror Story Coven plot details. Just to tease fans before the October 9th season premiere, FX has revealed some details about the season-opening episode:
A young girl, Zoe, is shattered to discover she possesses a strange genetic affliction tracing back to the dark days of Salem. Zoe is whisked away to Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, a mysterious school in New Orleans devoted to safeguarding the few remaining descendants who share this unique bloodline. Harboring a secret agenda, Fiona Goode, the most powerful witch of their generation, returns to town, reigniting old rivalries with the Coven’s deadly enemies, the Voodoo.
Trailer for Bloodline. The film uncovers the eerie past and life of Brett Ethos. A young seminary student inching toward a priestly life, Brett falls away from the church as his curiosities entice him to divulge into worldly pleasures ultimately leading to the relentless realities of his identity. Tempted to unmask the hidden mirrors of his past, fear consumes him at the site of the haunting reflections, as self-discovery becomes the most terrifying journey of all. Truth is discovered, blood is tainted, and darkness pollutes their fate, Brett puts his own life and the lives around him in an immense danger as he is torn between his faith and his curse. Opens in a limited theatrical release on September 27th.
Trailer for All Hallow’s Eve. Beautiful, unsuspecting Sarah is looking forward to a quiet Halloween night at home with the two young teens she’s babysitting. Then, she discovers an unmarked old VHS videotape in one of the kid’s bags of candy. On the tape: a series of wildly outlandish tales of murder, torture and unearthly mayhem, all somehow linked to a diabolical clown-from-hell. As each tale ratchets up the terror, bizarre phenomena begin to occur in the house, as Sarah discovers that the grimacing, white-faced clown on the video may be saving his most horrific All Hallows’ Eve treat… just for her. Coming to DVD October 29th.
Clive Barker finishes The Scarlet Gospels! Recently horror writer Clive Barker announced on his Facebook page that he has completed the long awaited novel The Scarlet Gospels which pits pinhead against Harry D’Amor, his character from The Last Illusion. Said Barker in his post:
“I thought you might like to know that THE SCARLET GOSPELS,a large novel which sets Harry D'Amour against the Hell Priest Pinhead,is finished,and has been delivered to my agent. I don't yet have a publication date for it,but as soon as I do you'll be the first to know. I won't say anything about the narrative except this: it's a HORROR NOVEL with the graphic violence and perverse eroticism of the most intense tales from the Books Of Blood.Please feel free to share this news with any friends who might have been wondering about the book :THE SCARLET GOSPELS ARE FINISHED.”
THE TERRIFYING REVIEWS
The Twilight Zone Season 5 DVD Review (Image Entertainment)
Season five would be the final season in the original run of the legendary TV show but it still managed to produce some of the series’ best episodes. Despite that, CBS pulled the plug on the show in 1964. There was interest from ABC in bringing the series over to their network although the version they had in mind was far different from that of Rod Serling’s so he declined.
Richard Matheson contributed four stories to the fifth season including one of the greatest episodes ever, “Nighmare at 20,000” feet which finds a terrified airplane passenger named Bob Wilson played by a young William Shatner, seeing a horrific monster on the wing of the airplane, attempting to bring the plane down. While Wilson is taken away in a strait jacket when the plane lands, the airport crew finds what appears to be scratches on the plane’s wing. Terrific and horrifying episode which would later be remade starring John Lithgow in a segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie.
“Steel” based on another Matheson story, isn’t a great episode, but its tale of robot boxers would be remade in 2011 as the big screen film “Real Steel”.
Another one of the show’s great episodes was “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” based on the tale by Ambrose Bierce. A Civil War prisoner is set to be hung by a group of Union soldiers. But as he drops, the rope remarkably breaks allowing him to fall safely into the creek and escape. He arrives home to his elated wife and is about to hug her when he falls at the end of the rope and his neck snaps…he had been hallucinating about escaping the entire time.
Other outstanding episodes from season five include Caesar and me about a down and out ventriloquist and his dummy that comes to life and “Stopover in a Quiet Town” about a couple who wake up in a strange house and find that the food and telephone are mere fake props…they then discover they are merely the toys of a giant girl and are inside of her dollhouse.
Cockneys Vs. Zombies (The Scream Factory)
In the tradition of Shaun of the Dead comes another British zombie horror/comedy Cockneys Vs. Zombies. Cockneys refers to the nickname of those working class Brits who live in London’s East End. Two construction workers uncover a tomb sealed in the 17th century and unwittingly unleash its blood-thirsty inhabitants on the city. Meanwhile brothers Terry and Andy have planned a bank robbery with several of their friends in order to save their grandfather’s retirement home from being torn down. The robbery attempt goes awry and the group soon finds themselves inside the back surrounded by cops. As they plan their next move they look out to see all of the cops dead. Making their getaway, they soon find the city crawling with zombies.
As the group of would be bank robbers seeks refuge from the undead in an abandoned warehouse, the boys grandfather Ray and several other elderly residents of the retirement home are trapped in the kitchen by the zombies. Among those are Peggy, played by Honor Blackman best known as Bond Girl Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, and longtime British TV star Richard Briers as Hamish, who passed away earlier this year.
While not on the same level of Shaun of the Dead in terms of gut-busting laughs, Cockneys Vs. Zombies has some standout comedic moments, most of them involving the senior citizens. One scene finds Hamish, who requires a walker, trying to “out run” the shambling zombies. In fact the film has two distinct tones. While the retirement home is lighter and filled with laughs, the bank robber’s parts are played more for straight horror. When the brothers hijack a double-decker bus in order to save their grandfather, the two distinct stories mix together for a nice blend of horror and humor. Alan Ford is a cast standout as the boys’ tough, former gangster grandfather.
Overall a good deal of fun and the blu-ray comes with two audio commentaries, and some behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Frankenstein’s Army (Dark Sky Films)
Ahh…Nazis and zombies. They seem to go together like beer and pretzels and it’s been a theme of numerous horror films over the years. But I dare say none of them can approach Frankenstein’s Army for sheer twisted monster creations.
A Russian reconnaissance unit is behind German lines in the waning days of World War II. Among the Russian soldiers is Dmitri, an aspiring filmmaker who is recording the vents with his handheld camera. They pick up a distress call from another Russian unit and move onward to locate and aid them. They come upon a small hamlet filled with terrified residents.
As the soldiers search a seemingly abandoned factory, they encounter a strange creature who is part man and part metal with odd weapons grafted on to its body. The creature kills the unit’s leader before it is gunned down by the other soldiers. As they delve deeper and deeper into the factory they are attacked by ever more bizarre monstrosities that they learn have been created by a crazed scientist, Viktor Frankenstein. Their search to rescue their comrades now becomes a fight for their own lives!
I generally detest found-footage films and there is no reason at all for Director Richard Raaphorst to take this avenue as it adds nothing to the story. That said at least he makes it less obtrusive than other found-footage films and their less of the jittery camera work than were used to seeing.
The cast is ok and story pedestrian but the true stars of the film are those warped creatures created by the special and visual FX teams, and Raaphorst himself who designed the creatures…human bodies who have sickles, drills, spikes, and even airplane propellers attached to their bodies where their arms, hands, or heads should be. One shambles about on four stilted legs like a deranged spider. For those who have played the BioShock videogames the monsters are somewhat similar to those steam-punk themed horrors.
Frankenstein’s Army is exceedingly gory as the factory has an assembly line of bodies in various states of missing limbs and heads, just ready to be manufactured for the madman’s use. This is a good ol’ fashioned gore fest!
Monsters Wanted (Thoughtfly Films)
Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to own and operate your own haunted attraction? Now you can find out in this vastly entertaining and informative documentary that takes you inside the operation of the Asylum Haunted Theme park in Louisville, KY. Thoughfly films takes you behind-the-scenes to show you incredible amount of planning, work, money, dedication, and heartache it takes to operate one of these seasonal Halloween haunted theme parks.
Written and directed by Brian Cunningham and Joe Laughrey, the documentary follows Rich Teachout and his partner and girlfriend Janel Nash in operating this Louisville haunted theme park which features four different attractions, two of which are new. It is the planning and building of the new attractions, Zombie City and Darkness Falls that the bulk of the documentary follows. Teachout left a lucrative job to dedicate himself full-time to the effort.
The documentary picks up months before the late September park opening as Rich, Janel, and their team of costumers and make-up artists begins the planning of the new attractions which are built on a forty acre area. Sets are constructed, costumes are made, and auditions are held for the dozens of actors the park will require. The team visits the Transworld show, the only trade show dedicated to Halloween décor, costumes, props, and animatronics.
As the days countdown the team grows more frustrated as they race to finish the park in time for the opening. Rich and Janel become exasperated with the many details like dealing with electricians, carpenters, actors who stop showing up without notice, and surprise inspection by the city building inspectors. Even as the first customers lineup the team is still running air hose lines and setting up lighting. Even with glowing reviews from both customers and the media, Rich and Janeal face the cold reality that they will not make their investment back the first year as they struggle just to pay their own bills.
You can’t help but admire the dedication that the entire staff has in the face of all the problems they encounter and days which last 20 hours. Cunningham and Laughrey do a great job of letting the people tell the story as they stay back and just record the drama. For any horror or haunted house them park fan, this is a fascinating look inside the industry.