Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Archive for May, 2014

Best Horror Films of 2013 – Early 2014

Best-Horror_2013-20142013 to early 2014 (we get some movies late down here in Australia. Last year was a better than average year in the horror genre. For all the usual whining and complaints on numerous horror-themed websites, as well as here, there was some good work over the last year.
So, here’s my list of best and worst of 2013 (and a bit), from what I’ve seen…

BEST CINEMA RELEASE FILMS
Evil Dead (I know a lot of people hated it, but it’s my list and I liked it)
Maniac
Stoker

BEST DIRECT TO VIDEO / VOD FILMS
American Mary
Berberian Sound Studio
We Are What We Are

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE HORROR
Here Comes The Devil

BEST DIRECTOR
Franck Khalfoun – Maniac
Special mention to Jen & Sylvia Soska for American Mary

BEST ACTOR
Elijah Wood – Maniac

BEST ACTRESS
Katherine Isabelle – American Mary

BEST SCREENPLAY
Jen & Sylvia Soska – American Mary

BEST SCORE
Rob – Maniac

BEST MAKE-UP EFX
Roger Murray & Jane O’Kane – Evil Dead

DISAPPOINTMENT
Carrie – Good performances but just a bit lame.

WORST FILM
Frankenstein’s Army – More of that CG ‘Horror’ started by the godawful Van Helsing, ‘perfected’ by Underworld and now everywhere… and I hate it all.

It’s obvious from the list that I really liked American Mary. It was probably my favourite horror movie of the year… best story and the Soska twins would have taken out best direction if Maniac hadn’t been so incredibly well constructed by Franck Khalfoun. Feel free to comment…


Sin City – MPAA Banned Poster

Apparently this poster shows too much for the MPAA who have banned it… I think it’s bloody great.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past – Infographic

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Big Trouble in Little China – Eric Powell

big-trouble-in-little-china1John Carpenter’s 1986 kung fu fantasy masterpiece Big Trouble in Little China was a flop when it was first released, but a long life on home video helped foster a retroactive appreciation for star Kurt Russell’s fast-talking Jack Burton and the style with which Carpenter delivers his crazy tale. It is now a bona fide cult classic, and it is getting resurrected in comic book form.

Beginning with the first issue on June 4, Boom! Studios will be rolling out Big Trouble in Little China, the new comic book series co-written by Eric Powell (creator of the awesome series The Goon) and Carpenter, with art care of Brian Churilla (creator of the critically acclaimed The Secret History of D.B. Cooper). In the comic, Burton — still played by the likeness of the mullet-clad Russell — finds a series of new adventures aboard the Pork Chop Express, the big rig he kept trying to recover in the film.

Though they hadn’t met before, Carpenter and Powell found kindred spirits in one another. “I had a definite idea of what I wanted to do with it,” says Powell. “The minute we sat down and started talking, what he thought we should do was exactly what I had in mind. We were on the same page from the beginning.” Carpenter describes their working relationship thusly: “Eric works really hard, sends his stuff to me, and I say, ‘Good job!’” the director says. “It’s a great process. It’s one I can actually do.”

The comic book kicks off right where the film left us nearly 30 years ago, with a mythical Chinese creature stowing away on Burton’s truck. Carpenter says despite that open-ended finale, there was never a direct intention to make a sequel, though he relishes the idea of being able to explore the Big Trouble universe again. “It’s a story and characters and a world that I love, because I really loved making the film,” says Carpenter. “I hadn’t seen anything like it, and it gave me a chance to make a kung fu movie. I fell in love with kung fu films back in the ’70s. For as much fighting they had, they were also so fun and innocent. They had some outrageous stuff, and I thought what a great thing to be able to do in an American movie. It’s an innocence, a purity of character. I really love them.”

Carpenter particularly appreciates Powell’s brand of fandom, particularly because Big Trouble In Little China was so mishandled and went generally unseen when it was first released. “It’s great that people are re-discovering it and like it. It’s a nice way to go into my old age to realize that movie finally got its due. There are some others I hope will come along too,” he says.

Carpenter says the team is already into the second arc of the book, and he’s particularly pleased with Powell’s take on Burton. “He really gets Burton’s sense of humor and who he is,” Carpenter says. “Jack Burton is really a piece of s— if you want to be honest. He’s a blowhard, he’s sort of incompetent but he thinks he knows everything. He’s really fun. He’s completely out of his league. That’s the most fun about it.”

The first issue of the ongoing monthly comic book series Big Trouble In Little China hits stores on June 4 with five different collectible covers drawn by Powell, Joe Quinones, Chris Weston, Terry Dodson, and Emi Yonemura Brown. But just to whet your whistle, you can take the first exclusive look at the first six pages below:

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Rick Baker – Designs for Night Skies

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After Close Encounters of the Third Kind became a hit, Columbia Pictures wanted a sequel. Director Steven Spielberg did not, but the one thing he wanted less than a sequel was for Columbia to make one without him. So he set about developing a much darker, horror-tinged film that would act as a follow-up to Close Encounters. It was originally called Watch the Skies (which was also an early Close Encounters title) and eventually referred to as Night Skies.  John Sayles scripted, and Rick Baker was hired to design the alien concepts.

Rick Baker has been posting images of his designs on Twitter, and they’re wonderful to see. Several will look very familiar, too. Because while Night Skies was never made, the concepts from the film ended up in several other Spielberg projects, E.T. adopted several big ideas, and films such as Poltergeist and Gremlins took concepts and pointers. Courtesy of The Rick Baker and /Film.

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Nosferatu – Poster by Lafar

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Game of Thrones – Imagined as Disney Art

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Piranha – Poster Art

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Hannibal – Season 2 Poster Art

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“The idea behind these posters was to play off the duality and hidden nature of Hannibal Lector. I’m a huge fan of the show, and am captivated whenever Hannibal is on screen. Outwardly he’s an immaculately put together gentleman with refined taste, but underneath the carefully constructed facade is a horrible killer.”

“One poster shows you how Hannibal wants you do see him, and the other shows him for what he really is. The blood drips act as visual elements to hint at the gory nature of the show, but also hint at being prison bars. Anyone who’s read the books or seen the movies knows he’s going to be caught one day. But when?” – Justin Erickson, Phantom City Creative



KRUEGER (The Slasher from Elm Street) – Part 4

The fourth installment to the fan film webseries KRUEGER (Tales from Elm Street), by director Chris R. Notarile. Previous episode HERE

In Springwood, long before he became a demon of dreams, Freddy Krueger stalked the streets under another name – The Springwood Slasher. Our fourth story picks up where our previous entry left off with a young boy on the run from his abductor- Freddy. Hiding out in an old junkyard, Mikey attempts to evade the Springwood Slasher in a daring escape. But will he get away and reunite with his family? Or are his days numbered?


Halloween – The Complete Collection

halloween_movie_posterAfter the announcement of the complete Friday the 13th box set last year, we now have a fantastic complete Halloween box set from distribution partners Anchor Bay Entertainment and Scream Factory. Here’s the press release details:

For the legions of Halloween fans, the Deluxe Edition boasts 15 discs and contains all the Halloween feature films Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Halloween H20, Halloween: Resurrection, Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II. The set includes the NEVER BEFORE RELEASED producers cut of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers as well as the ultra-rare network TV version of the original Halloween, the network TV version of Halloween II, plus the unrated versions of Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II. It is packed with hours of BRAND NEW bonus features including new interviews with cast and crew from the entire franchise! In response to years of fan feedback, the first Halloween will now also include the original mono audio track and the set will include both versions of the original Halloween-the original Blu-ray release and the recently remastered 35th Anniversary version with the mono track added back in! It also comes with a limited edition 40-page book written by Michael Gingold of Fangoria Magazine. The collectible packaging will include a newly commissioned illustration on the outer case and each film will be in its own black Blu-ray case with the original theatrical one sheet as the key art. This deluxe set carries an SRP of $169.99.

“This compilation is the ultimate collector’s item for fans of the Halloween films and a testament to all the wonderful talent that have worked on them,” remarked Malek Akkad, President of Trancas International Films and son of series producer Moustapha Akkad. “The partnership between Anchor Bay Entertainment and Scream Factory to present fans for the first time with all the Halloween films in one definitive package is a tribute to everyone ñ including my father ñ who made these films the terrifying classics they are today.”

The 10-disc Edition includes the original theatrical versions of the Halloween films and will include select bonus features. SRP is $129.99.

Both sets pre-book August 27 and will be distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment with bonus features developed and created by Scream Factory and Anchor Bay. Artwork and bonus features to be announced in the next couple of months.


The Omen… Again

The-Omen_1976Former Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara is sticking with horror for his next project.

Mazzara is developing a follow-up to the 1976 horror classic The Omen for Lifetime, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Titled Damien, the drama centres on Damien Thorn as an adult haunted by his past. Damien is faced with a series of macabre events and must finally face his true destiny: He is the Antichrist.

I may be missing something here but I thought we covered this with Damien: Omen II (1978) and Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981). There have been other less successful attempts over the years to keep the franchise going, the TV movies, Omen IV: The Awakening (1991) and The Omen (1995). The latter was an attempt to make a series… it failed.

Original writer David Seltzer rewrote his novel in 2005 for an NBC mini-series called Revelations. The original film was remade in 2006 starring Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick was a minor hit.

Mazzara is also in talks to write Overlook Hotel, a prequel to The Shining.


Godzilla – By My 8 Year Old Son *****

Godzilla_bannerGodzilla is about Godzilla versus MUTO which means ‘Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism’.

Scientists discover a giant fossil and one egg which has hatched and one egg which has been damaged. The egg that had hatched was MUTO and he went to Japan and destroyed a nuclear power plant.  He feeds on nuclear radiation and grows stronger/massive.

After 15 years MUTO outside the old nuclear area, MUTO attacks breaks free. He goes to America where a female MUTO destroys Las Vegas.

SPOILER ALERT Then Godzilla follows them and fights the male MUTO and he slams it into a building and it dies. After that the building collapses on Godzilla and everyone thinks he’s dead. The female MUTO lays some eggs and tries to stop a boat with a nuclear missile on it, but Godzilla has a massive battle with her and blasts plasma down her throat and tears off her head.

godzilla_2014_textless-posterMy favourite part was in San Francisco where everyone was relaxing and on the tv news it was saying ‘Las Vegas Attack’ and no one was taking any notice until the wall smashed and MUTO was outside. My other favourite part was when the firemen broke down a door and the Elvis Presley song that me and Dad sing to my sister was playing and then the firemen look outside because the wall is destroyed. All these other buildings with MUTO destroying most of the city and all these helicopters flying around that’s when the song goes: “You’re the Devil in disguise”

It was awesome, I give it 5 out of 5 stars  ;D


Game of Thrones – Character Art

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Lucifer (Morning Star) – By Paul Fryer

Paul-Fryer-Lucifer_frontBeautiful dark sculpture by Paul Fryer – an artist inspired by religion, science and mechanics. The image is of the work ‘Lucifer (Morning Star), an installation at the Holy Church in Marylebone in 2008, which depicts a wax Lucifer suspended by high-power lines. There’s something about placing a dark sculpture in a religious building that really does produce a dramatic piece of work.

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Sci-Fi Corporation Mugs

Sci-Fi_MugsEnjoy your afternoon cup of tea in one of four mugs inspired by futuristic corporations from Aliens, Terminator, Blade Runner and Robocop. If anyone wants to buy me one (or all of them!), they’re available along with a lot of other nerdy goodies HERE


Monsters: Dark Continent

With Gareth Edwards’ new film Godzilla hitting theaters tonight, people are once again talking about his first feature, Monsters which was one of the best movies of 2010. It would seem to be a good time to debut the new Monsters: Dark Continent trailer. This sequel features Edwards as an exec producer, along with his Monsters star Scott McNairy. Tom Green directed from a script by Jay Basu, and this time the action moves to the Middle East, where US military forces are dealing with a different sort of “infected zone” full of monsters. Check out the new trailer…


US Military Zombie Survival Plan

The US government has a plan for everything it would appear, including zombies. No, they don’t actually believe in the walking dead.  CONPLAN 8888 is a product of planning exercises held in 2009 and 2010 at the Joint Combined Warfighting School and is only meant for training purposes.  The unclassified document provides the military guidelines for Counter-Zombie Dominance Operations.  The plan was developed to accomplish 3 goals: 1) maintain defensive perimeter to protect human life; 2) conducting operations that will eradicate zombie threats; and 3) aiding civil authorities in restoring law and order. Click on the link to read the full transcript: 223872345-CONPLAN-8888

All very similar to the CDC Emergency page from a few years back HERE

See more weirdness at JDStuster HERE


H.R. Giger – R.I.P

hr-giger-alien-1I belatedly write this after hearing the sad news yesterday of the passing of  Swiss surrealist painter and sculptor who created the Xenomorph alien design for Ridley Scott‘s 1979 sci-fi classic Alien died Monday after suffering injuries in a fall. He was 74. H.R. Giger‘s name became synonymous with his iconic Alien design, which originated from his own lithograph Necronom IV and went on to nab him an Oscar for Best Visual Effects.

Giger’s sexually charged “biomechanical” designs got him on Scott’s radar in the 1970’s when the artist had been working on Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s doomed version of Frank Herbert’s Dune (later directed by David Lynch). After Alien co-writer Dan O’Bannon showed Giger’s nightmarish designs to Scott, the helmer tapped Giger to design the Alien creature, eggs, planetoid Acheron AKA LV-426, and Alien ship for the film. He would go on to contribute designs to Aliens, Alien 3, Alien: Resurrection, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, Species, and Tokyo: The Last War, and was credited for original designs used in 2012′s Prometheus.

Giger, who directed his own documentary shorts in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, appears in the new Sony Classics docu Jodorowsky’s Dune.


Sin City – By Florey

Sin-City_Triptych_FloreyFlorey is an Artist, Graphic Designer and Illustrator from Melbourne, Australia.  He has just released a fantastic, timed-edition triptych that centers around “Sin City”  With bold colour schemes and memorable phrases, he brilliantly captures the essence of “Sin City.” Click HERE to order.


The Akira Project

The-Akira-Project_Posters“The Akira Project is a crowd-sourced, non-profit project meant to create a live action fan trailer of AKIRA, the renowned manga-turned-anime film from the late 1980′s; a stunning example of both mediums as art forms. While Hollywood has been working on a live-action Akira movie for a few years now, we, as fans, wanted to take a shot at making our own adaptation. A chance to stick as close to the source material as possible. A chance to do Akira Justice.

We launched an Indiegogo campaign in July 2012 as part of a crowd sourcing effort to make this project come to life. Many people contributed not just financially but offered their time and talent to help the production that was shot in Montreal, Quebec from November 2-5th 2012. What started out as a simple idea between two guys having a beer (Hey! It’d be cool to see Kaneda ride his bike around Neo-Tokyo!), became a global endeavour, filled with adventures and hurdles, involving more than 40 artists in 12 different countries.

After a year and a half in post-production, we are proud to present the project to Akira fans the world over. We hope to have done justice to the timeless work of Katsuhiro Otomo and look forward to, someday, seeing the full scope of the Akira story translated to the big screen as a live-action. ”

Check out the short promo from Producer/Director: Nguyen-Anh Nguyen


Sansa Stark – Game of Thrones Art

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Mama – Motion Test

Last years hit movie, the Guillermo del Toro produced Mama was okay, let down some poor CGI for the Mama character. Everyone who knows me knows that I hate CGI in horror, apart form the odd ‘touch-up’ I don’t like it for characters or monsters, I still love good make-up. This test for Mama was undertaken before the shoot and features Javier Botet as the lady ghost Mama and it is delightfully spooky, especially in black and white. Botet (Medeiros in the REC series) whose especially thin physique is a result of Marfan syndrome, really knows how to manouvre his body to create something otherworldly and menacing.


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.