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

Posts tagged “Halloween

122 Years of Horror

A History of Horror from Diego Carrera on Vimeo.


Tales of Halloween

tales-of-halloween_drew-struzanThe horror anthology Tales of Halloween boasts contributions from a small army of well-regarded genre directors, an even larger number of terror veterans in its cast, and opening theme music from legendary Bullitt and Dirty Harry composer Lalo Schifrin. The movie, brainchild of writer-director Axelle Carolyn, which Epic Pictures is releasing in theaters and on VOD, Oct. 16 The film has a new poster by Drew Struzan, the legendary artist whose work played such a seminal role in the marketing campaigns of the Star Wars, Back to the Future, and Indiana Jones movies, to name a few.

In a statement from The Descent filmmaker Neil Marshall, who directs one of the 10 interconnected Tales of Halloween segments, he explains how Struzan came to produce the image (turns out it doesn’t hurt to cast him in your movie).

To film geeks and movie poster collectors such as myself, Drew Struzan represents something that often seems to have been lost in recent years; the ART of movie poster design. The ability of someone to capture the essence of a movie in a single painted image and create a genuine work of art you’d be proud to hang on your wall.  So it’s an unbelievable privilege for our little film to be blessed by one of Drew’s beautiful paintings. It was incredible enough to have Drew play his first ever cameo (along with his son Christian) in my segment of Tales of Halloween. The poster itself came about when Axelle (Carolyn, my wife and also creator, producer and fellow director of the movie) plucked up the courage to ask him over dinner one night. I suspect though, since Drew is such a thoughtful and generous person, that he might have been upset if we hadn’t asked him. Either way, we’re honoured to have Drew’s incredible artwork grace our movie, and I for one will be making space on my wall for this beautiful poster.


John Carpenter – Night

Video for the track ‘Night’ from John Carpenter’s debut album of non-soundtrack material which is out now on Sacred Bones. Video by Gavin Hignight and Ben Verhulst: “Upon hearing “Night” by John Carpenter my head was instantly filled with these nighttime highway road dreamscapes. Someone or something, haunted, traveling the road alone in the late hours.”


The Barn

the-barn-posterAwesome poster and awful trailer for ’80’s themed horror flick – The Barn.

Halloween 1989, and best friends Sam and Josh are trying to enjoy what’s left of their final Devil’s Night before graduating high school. But trouble arises when the two pals and a group of friends take a detour on their way to a rock concert, finding an old abandoned barn and awakening the evil inside. Now it’s up to Sam and Josh to find a way to protect their friends and defeat the creatures that lurk within “The Barn.”


Tales of Halloween – Production Diaries 2

Three more Production diaries from the forthcoming Tales of Halloween anthology series. You can see the first 3 diaries HERE.




John Carpenter’s Lost Themes

john-carpenter_lost-themesJohn Carpenter has been responsible for much of the horror genre’s most striking soundtrack work in the fifteen movies he’s both directed and scored. The themes can instantly flood his fans’ musical memory with imagery of a menacing shape stalking a babysitter, a relentless wall of ghost-filled fog, lightning-fisted kung fu fighters, or a mirror holding the gateway to hell. The all-new music on Lost Themes asks Carpenter’s acolytes to visualize their own nightmares.

“Lost Themes was all about having fun,” Carpenter says. “It can be both great and bad to score over images, which is what I’m used to. Here there were no pressures. No actors asking me what they’re supposed to do. No crew waiting. No cutting room to go to. No release pending. It’s just fun. And I couldn’t have a better set-up at my house, where I depended on (collaborators) Cody (Carpenter, of the band Ludrium) and Daniel (Davies, who wrote the songs for I, Frankenstein) to bring me ideas as we began improvising. The plan was to make my music more complete and fuller, because we had unlimited tracks. I wasn’t dealing with just analogue anymore. It’s a brand new world. And there was nothing in any of our heads when we started other than to make it moody.”


As is Carpenter’s style, repetition is the key to the thundering power of these tracks, their energy swirling with shredding chords, soaring organs, unnerving pianos and captivating percussion. Horror fans will be reminded of Carpenter’s past works, as well as ancestors like Mike Oldfeld’s Tubular Bells and Goblin’s Suspiria.

“They’re little moments of score from movies made in our imaginations,” Carpenter says.“Now I hope it inspires people to create films that could be scored with this music.”

Available on the official John Carpenter site HERE and at the Sacred Bones site HERE


Fisher Price Slasher Toys

008-LEATHERFACE-FISHER-PRICE_ADVENTURE_PEOPLE009-LEATHERFACE_VICTIM-FISHER-PRICE_ADVENTURE_PEOPLEIt’s a BLAST FROM THE PAST with the Fisher-Price adventure people. Made by Phil Postma: “Some of you might remember these from your childhood but probably don’t remember them being so bloody gory. That is my fault, this mash-up just popped into my brain one afternoon and I just had to make them. It is a literally my youth mashed together with toys I have played with as a kid and my love of the horror movies from teen years.”

“I also chopped up some Backgrounds from “Scoody-doo: Mystery Incorporated” and put them in the illustration to make my drawings look better since My BG skills are lacking. And before anybody asks, they are done entirely in Photoshop and are not real custom figures.”

Check them out and more at Minion Factory HERE

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Tales of Halloween

Tales-of-Halloween-posterAnthology Horror is doing well at the moment, the V/H/S and ABC’s of Death both doing solid business, now we have Tales of Halloween which will consist of ten segments from eleven directors. Tales of Halloween will bring together directors like Neil Marshall (The Descent) and Darren Bousman (Saws II-IV) in celebration of that most macabre of holidays.

In addition to Marshall and Bousman, there’s Joe Begos (Almost Human), Axelle Carolyn (Soulmate), Adam Gierasch (Night of the Demons), Andrew Kasch (Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy) and John Skipp (Stay at Home Dad), Mike Mendez (Big Ass Spider!), Dave Parker (The Hills Run Red), Ryan Schifrin (Abominable), and Paul Solet (Grace).

All of the interconnected segments will take place during Halloween night in one quiet American town. Well, one typically-quiet American town. On this particular evening it’s being terrorized by all manner of horrifying creatures, from ghouls and aliens to good-old-fashioned murderers.

Carolyn was the one to come up with the project, and will serve as producer alongside Mendez. Many of the filmmakers come from the same Los Angeles scene and are such good friends they even have a cute name for themselves, The October Society.

“It’s so great to be working with such a unique and talented group of directors,” said Marshall. “Many of The October Society have been friends for years, so when Axelle had the idea of combining our talents for an anthology based on our mutual love of Halloween and all things scary, it was a no-brainer.”

Pre-production on Tales of Halloween is already underway, and shooting is expected to begin in November. There’s no release date for this one yet, but it seems a safe bet that we can expect it out in time for the holiday next year… cool poster.


On Set With John Carpenter

“On The Set With John Carpenter” –  John Carpenter’s producing partner Debra Hill hired photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker to be the unit photographer on Halloween, and Kim soon became part of Carpenter’s filmmaking family, going on to shoot stills on the sets of some of his most iconic films: Halloween, The Fog, Escape from New York, Halloween II and Christine.

Collected together here for the first time is the best of that on-set photography, with iconic, rare, and previously unseen images. All accompanied by exclusive commentary from those involved, including John Carpenter himself, and other key crew and cast.

From production stills, to candids of the stars between takes, and the crew in action, alongside portrait shots of the actors who would eagerly pose for Kim, this book gives an unprecedented glimpse into the action on set with John Carpenter. Get hit HERE

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Skittles Halloween Ad – Taste the Rainbow…


Oh The Horror – Series 2

LEGO is the biggest retail toy in the world, bought by adults and kids alike… new versions of the Ghostbusters car and headquarters, batmobile and Simpsons house have pushed the little bricks to the top of workplace shelves worldwide. Minifigs have been creating specialist figures for some time now, they made Oh The Horror series 1 last year and are back with series 2. Featuring tributes to horror icons such as Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, Jigsaw, Leatherface, Pinhead, Ghostface, Ash and Norman Bates among others. Get them HERE
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Carver – Trailer

Check out the trailer for 14 year old Emily DiPrimio’s Carver, a lovingly produced homage to those glorious 80’s slashers we all grew up on. For more info about Emily and the movie, go HERE

“Carver is about a group of teenagers who are haunted by a despicable act they committed on Halloween when they were younger. Their actions caused the deaths of three innocent people. Now, on the anniversary of those deaths, an ominous calling card in the form of a carved pumpkin has been placed at each of their homes. Someone is out for revenge. The question is…who?”


Saw – 10th Anniversary Halloween Re-release

saw_japan_posterLionsgate has announced it will re-release its gruesome 2004 franchise-launcher Saw in a limited nationwide run this Halloween, giving horror fanatics something to mark their calendars for. Saw will open for a one week 10th anniversary engagement on Friday, October 31 with Thursday midnights in select locations. The serial killer pic spawned a seven-film, $874 million franchise with a simple high concept premise: Two men wake up in the lair of a serial killer named Jigsaw, forced to do the unthinkable to survive while figuring out their captor’s identity.

The gory thriller not only gave birth to the most successful horror franchise in history, it also launched the career of director James Wan, who went on to helm recent hits Insidious, The Conjuring, Insidious: Chapter 2, and Universal’s upcoming Fast & Furious 7. Wan’s Saw co-writer Leigh Whannell starred in the first film and is now set to make his directorial debut with Insidious: Chapter 3.

It appears to be a smart move by Lionsgate, as the Halloween weekend is otherwise light on horror offerings. October 31 even falls conveniently on a Friday. Only Clarius Entertainment’s Nicole Kidman thriller Before I Go To Sleep and Open Road’s crime drama Nightcrawler are hitting wide release that weekend, while more traditional horror titles The ABCs of Death 2 (Magnolia), Horns (Radius-TWC), and genre-bending import Why Don’t You Play In Hell? (Drafthouse) are opening in limited theatrical runs.

We await the inevitable 4K, 10th Anniversary Remaster on Blu-Ray…


Rob Zombie’s 31

Rob-Zombie_31_horror_halloweenMusician-turned-director Rob Zombie has official announced his Halloween-themed horror 31, which turns out to be a crowd-sourced effort. The film revolves around five people kidnapped in the days leading up to Halloween.

As with all crowd-sourced projects, there are different tiers that land backers different rewards, such as an autographed movie poster, autographed DVD, thanks in the credits, lifetime access to every Rob Zombie show, and more. Website HERE

Welcome to my next film. It is called ’31,’ ” states Zombie. “It is the story of five random people kidnapped on the five days leading up to Halloween and held hostage in a place called Murder World. While trapped inside this man-made Hell they must fight to survive playing the most violent game known to man… a game called 31.

Here’s why he chose the crowd-source:

“I’m crowd funding because I realize that it’s an incredible opportunity to engage the fans. They’ve always been the most important thing for me because, with metal and horror, the fans aren’t just fans – it’s their life, their lifestyle. They live and breathe it, as I do, and any way that you can bring the people that are as passionate about it as you are into the process is a win-win for everybody.Get on board! Get involved! Be part of this horrifying business! The world of horror needs you!”


Prank – Alex Weight Interview

FINAL POSTER _billing list 001I managed to get an interview with Alex Weight, the writer/director of new horror film Prank a short in the vein of the fantastical slasher pics of the 80’s – Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween.
Prank tells the story of those three young teenage boys (Richie, Bobby and Sam) who come together for just one night to catch up with an old friend they haven’t seen in years. It’s not until they arrive at their destination do we find out that all is not as it seems.

GEORDIE: Hi Alex, thanks for taking time out to answer a few questions about your new short horror film Prank. I’ll start with an assumption that Prank was influenced by your love of 80’s horror. What inspired the story and your drive to make the film?

ALEX: Hi Geordie, my pleasure. You’re very right, being a child of the 80’s I grew up with the classic Slasher films that defined the genre – Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th. These movies included an element of fun and adventure, without becoming farcical (excusing maybe some of the later ones) but still delivering shocks. They captured the freedom and excitement of youth rebelling against a grownup world, but now also battling demonic evil. This trope was fun, though watching those kids strive against, essentially the same monster got me thinking.

When Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger found themselves alive again for the first time, was revenge the first thought on their mind? Did they consider tracking down family and loved ones? Making contact with those who hadn’t spurned them in life? Were they re-born with pure hatred, or was that decision to follow destruction considered, deliberated on, then actioned? What if they were innocents? What if their death wasn’t born from a life of pain and suffering but an accident? Now, finding themselves alive again after many years, what path would they take?

This is how Prank was born. I wanted to tell the story from the other side. From the side of the monster. And about the choices that are made in the beginning of that rebirth. Retribution or forgiveness? Revenge or redemption?

Prank_still_2GEORDIE: The first thing that struck me at the location shoot the other week was the high production value of the film. It felt like a feature, the quality and scale of the set ups and the amount of cast and crew on hand was staggering for a short film. How difficult was it to pull the production together?

ALEX:  It was a huge production but I can’t take all the credit for it. It really was Aaron Bush’s (Producer) ability to pull together the huge crew in a very short amount of time that made us able to get the production to that level. I was just the guy saying that I wanted a crane shot, Aaron was the guy who made it happen.

From the beginning I had a strong vision for how I wanted the film to look. A lot of independent and short horror nowadays goes down the “found footage” path. Which definitely has its benefits, cost being one of them. I wanted to break away from this and use more traditional camera setups and staging. Especially if we were going to push the whole 80’s look throughout. Unfortunately, this also means you need a big team and a crew that know what they’re doing.

But since we were still working with a short film budget we had to pull in a lot of favours. Most people out there realise what it means when you say that you’re working on a short film. Everyone knows the limitations you have of time and budget. But we were so lucky that they came onboard anyway.

Prank_still_1GEORDIE: As I mentioned above, it was a very professional set-up and was very impressive to see you and your crew at work. How did the shoot go?

ALEX: Amazingly. Since it was my first time directing a live action shoot I couldn’t have been in better hands. Simon Harding (DP) has a huge amount of experience, once he understood the look and style we were going for he nailed it straight away. Which left me free to concentrate on the performance. Have to say, I was pretty spoilt.

Kayne Taylor (1st AD) kept everyone – including myself – running on time throughout both nights. Which was a massive task since when I first spoke to Kayne he told us we needed three nights. Unfortunately we could only afford two – always the way hey? – Getting it done in that time came down to Kayne pushing us all and staying very organised.

Everyone in the crew had a lot of experience, once they knew we had a plan it made it much easier for everyone to work quickly and efficiently. You lose a lot of time if you have everyone on set and then go searching for shots. We couldn’t afford to do this so we planned out every shot in boards before touching the camera.

GEORDIE: Prank feels very much like an homage to the classic 80’s horror we grew up on; there are a lot of elements that felt familiar from those movies without feeling like anything was lifted from any specific film.

ALEX: I feel horror nowadays has taken a turn for the worse. “Torture-porn” predominates the genre. Movies that just set out to mutilate the protagonists in as many gratuitous ways as possible. The sense of fun is gone, so has the fantastical. The villains in today’s movies are real people, born from the news and reality rather than another dimension. I want to bring back the monsters from the 80s, open the door to the other side and have some fun.

There was also a sense of adventure in 80s horror that I loved. The stories felt more personal, like you were in on the secret. These kids were out there dealing with monsters at night and bullies during the day, but the adult world never really intruded. That’s what made movies like Goonies and Stand By Me so great. We tried to get the essence of that feeling in Prank. Hopefully its there. But a lot of that comes down to casting. That energy and the acting style of that time. I think the kids we had did a great job of trying to capture it. I gave them all a bunch of 80s movies to watch as homework before the shoot.

Prank_still_4GEORDIE: My standard question to all Australian film makers. The Australian film industry is either in a healthy state or at deaths door. It seems to concentrate and be favoured by the critics for focusing on anything but genre flicks; as if evidence were needed Margaret and David At The Movies didn’t even bother to review Wolf’s Creek 2. What’s your take on the current state of the industry here?

ALEX: Yeah, that’s a hot topic at the moment isn’t it? Well, it’s probably been the same for a while, but it feels like the industry has been more vocal about it of late. It’s a difficult subject since no Australian film maker wants to be a traitor to their industry, but at the same time it becomes increasingly frustrating when the industry doesn’t respond in kind.

We took Prank to a few of the Australian funding bodies and were told outright that they don’t support genre films. There is obviously a “type” of Australian film that does get funding. But if you have no interest in making that type of film it becomes very difficult to get your film made. In the end – like many other Australian film makers – we had to go with private funding.

I find it especially frustrating since there is so many good stories out there that just don’t get told. I’m all for art-house cinema, but I also feel that in order to support the industry and keep people in Australia we need to follow the American format a bit more and start thinking about making commercial movies that people want to watch. At the end of the day its about selling tickets. If you sell lots of tickets you’re going to be able to make another movie and keep your crew hired. Then hey, make your movie about the old lady who makes goat cheese for truck drivers in the outback.

Prank_still_6GEORDIE: Australia has a long and infamous history in the horror genre, from the 70’s and 80’s grindhouse schlock through to the more recent success of Wolf Creek, Saw and The Loved Ones as well as the independent Redd Inc. and The Tunnel. What do you hope to bring to the mix with Prank?

ALEX: I love all those films. I think they were incredibly successful at what they were setting out to do. Especially the Grindhouse films. Some are just brilliant in a completely schlock way. But there’s a certain type of film and look that people associate predominately with America. Why? I don’t get it. It seems if you set your movie in safe suburbia, kids on bikes, tree houses etc… people think you’re shooting your film in America. Its like Australia is only made up of the outback, and grungy alleyways in Surry Hills. There’s just a big grey void in between. I want to remind people that we don’t have to take ourselves so seriously, and that a movie can be Australian without pandering to colloquial cliches.

There are a lot of film makers out there who feel the same and doing some brilliant work, e.g. Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook. I’m hoping that Prank can add to the slowly growing pile of commercially viable Australian genre films.

Prank_still_3GEORDIE: The financially successful themes within the horror genre are cyclical; 2 1/2 years ago I asked Courtney Solomon what he thought was the next big thing in horror and he stated that it was the Ghost Stories and the Supernatural. He nailed it, no pressure but what do you hope to see as the next big thing in the genre and why?

ALEX:   Haha! No pressure at all. Sure, why not. Well, let’s take a look at what we’ve had recently. I think the Ghost run has been fantastic with films like The Conjuring, Mama, Insidious etc… but you’re right, it’s probably played out now. Moving forwards it looks like we’re getting another rash of remakes Carrie, Poltergeist… but that’s always going to be the case. I dunno, thats a hard one. I think the whole “found footage” genre has run its course as well. I guess if I’m going to guess, I’d say that horror – more than any other type of genre – is a reflection of the predominate global fear, so… Right now there’s a lot of media focusing on bigger problems people can’t control – global warming, dwindling resources, overpopulation etc… the kneejerk reaction to this is people withdraw, hole up with their own supplies to protect their little family unit. I’d say we’re going to start seeing movies that play around with this idea. Along the lines of where “Take Shelter” started but pushing it further. Families living underground, crazy extremist preper camps. Not quite dystopian, but what people do just before the shit hits the fan.

Prank_still_5GEORDIE: An easy one to finish. You’re obviously a big fan of the horror genre, what is your favourite horror film, what you remember from when you first saw it and why it’s still a favourite? Also, any new releases that have impressed you over the last few years?

ALEX: Wow. Just one? It’s not original but I’m going to have to go with Evil Dead 2. It’s just fucking great. I remember everything about watching for the first time. It’s scary, gross, funny. It just has every element a good horror film should have. Shit, any film should have.

So I saw it again recently and was just blown away with how well it’s made. The steady-cam shots are still amazing, the build-up to the first scare is handled beautifully. Some of the lines are so hokey but it all just works because it knows exactly what it is and doesn’t try to be anything different. That’s probably why I like it so much.

As for recent films? The two big standouts for me have been Cabin in the Woods and Drag Me To Hell. Both are incredibly well done. Plus both managed to get that sense of fun and adventure while still having some good shocks as well. I know I go on about it, but it’s just such a hard thing to do well.

Prank_Alex-WeightGEORDIE: I’m assuming that you aim to screen Prank on the festival circuit, when and where will we be able to see the film? Thanks again for your time with the interview. Good luck with Prank.

ALEX: Coming to major festivals soon. Thanks Geordie, been a pleasure. Check out the films facebook page HERE.


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.


Horror Icon Art From VHS Tapes

VHS_Horror_Icon_ArtOld VHS turned into… old VHS Horror icons by artist Patrick Massobrio. Click on the image to scroll through larger individual images of each Horror Icon. Check out his site for more weird and wonderful art HERE


Horror Themed Pizzas

Papas-Pizza_Scream_Halloween_The-Walking-DeadHungry? Check out these amazing Horror-themed pizzas by Wilhelm Rodriguez, a pizza maker at the Peurto Rican restaurant Papa’s Pizza… there’s much more on their facebook page HERE

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Halloween – By Chris R. Notarile

More from Chris R. Notarile, this time thre short films based in the Halloween universe.


The Nightmare Ends on Halloween

More from Chris R. Notarile. After losing to Jason, Freddy tries to convince Michael Myers to do his dirty work and kill the children of Elm St. But when Michael refuses to go along with Freddy’s plan all hell breaks loose as they battle to the death.


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Halloween – By Jock

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Mad Men

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Banned Nike Slasher Commercial

The famous Nike commercial that was banned because of the use of a horror movie slasher chasing a would be female victim!


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Pumpkin Art

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