Category: Horror

He’s a Horror Show

If you enjoyed 30 Days of Night [the graphic novel and/or the movie], then you might want to keep your eyes open for “30 Days of Night: 30 Days ’til Death” by award-winning writer/artist David [Stray Bullets] Lapham.

Lampham, who will write and draw the mini-series, describes it by saying:

The basic set up is that the elders are getting fed up and organize kill squads to come to America and “thin the heard.” My story focuses on one vamp named Rufus who escapes the kill squad once and decides the only way to survive is to live ‘off the radar’… These are not traditional vampires with all the usual vampire rules. They’re just vicious creatures… Rufus is only a hero by way of comparison to what’s going on around him… but make no mistake, he is a vampire. When it comes down to it, he’s a horror show.

If this sounds like something that you’d like, then click here to read the full interview at Newsarama.


The Ruins Comes Together

The Pitch: I was all set to go with “Hostel” meets “Little Shoppe of Horrors” without the comedy. Then I read Jeremy Butler’s pitch [at Chud.com] of “It’s ‘Hostel’ meets ‘Day of the Triffids’” and liked his better.The Overview: Two couples of young vacationing Americans meet a stranger who tells them about a little-known Mayan temple. The five of them decide to go out and take a look. Once there, bad things begin to happen. Very bad things.

The Good: The acting. The cast was made up of relative unkowns so it was possible that any of them could be killed at any point. The screenplay by Scott B. Smith based upon his novel of the same name [and which he changed up for the big screen]. The fact that you believed what was happening. That each of the bad things that happens to the characters basically stems from them trying to do a good thing or at least the right thing. That the movie takes you in one direction and suddenly you’re going in another and it works. You care about the characters.

The Bad: What happens when you’re trapped on the top of an ancient ruin by unfriendly locals and something much, much worse.

The Ugly: “He won’t last much longer like this. We’re gonna have to cut them off.” “Cut what off?” “His legs.”

The Summary: I love a good scary movie. I’m not much for gore. “The Ruins” is scary and contains gore. Some very gory scenes in fact. I really liked “The Ruins.” A lot. At some point I’ll add it to my movie collection. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes horror movies and doesn’t mind being a bit grossed out.

Baker Shut Out

Quick, name a person famous for doing special effects make-up. I’ll bet your answer [if you had one] was Rick Baker. That’s because Rick Baker is a genius… a legend.

Look at his list of credits and you can see that Rick Baker is the go-to guy for special effects make-up. He’s won 6 Academy Awards for his work in this area. But that’s just the tip of the ice berg. Baker has earned so many honors for his work that the list is, as they say, longer than your arm… unless of course you’re Lurch and then it’s just as long.

So… can you imagine that Rick Baker would be hired on to do the effects for a movie and then not only be shut out of the process, but treated with disrespect? In an interview with Capone at Ain’t It Cool News, Baker said, “They would shoot scenes using my work when I wasn’t even there… Other times when I was there if I try to look at the monitor, someone would literally stand in my way and block it.” Baker also spoke to MTV about his displeasure.

I had high hopes for “The Wolf Man.” Perhaps the movie will still be good, but I don’t see how I’ll be able to watch it without wondering how much better it could have been had they allowed Rick Baker to completely work his magic.

London After Midnight Found?

Harry, over at AICN has posted that a print of “London After Midnight” has been found. Long thought to be a lost film, “London After Midnight” starred Lon Chaney and was directed by Todd “Freaks” Browning.

To horror fans and film buffs finding a copy of this film would be like Indiana Jones finding the Holy Grail. This isn’t the first time it’s been reported that a copy has been found, but according to Harry’s sources, this could be the real deal.

I hope that this pans out and that the film is restored and given a theatrical revival before hitting dvd. You can bet that I’ll follow the story and report any news here.

Brubaker’s Angel of Death [2008]

I’m a fan of Ed Brubaker’s crime fiction so I was glad to hear that he has a new live-action crime series called “Angel of Death” set to premiere in 2009. Zoe Bell, best known for her work in Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof” will star as an assassin who, after suffering a severe head wound, becomes so haunted by her victims that she decides to go after the crime family that ordered the hits. What makes this weekly series unique is that each episode will be eight to ten minutes in length and air on-line!You can read the full story here.

By the way, Sean Phillips, who teamed with Brubaker for Sleeper and Criminal did the promo art above.

The Ghost of Gargantua

A trailer for Wild Bill Black’s “The Ghost of Gargantua” is now on-line. “Ghost of Gargantua” is the sequel to Bill’s ever-popular “The Amazing Colossal Woman.” Long-time ZONErs may remember this post where I talked about filming that was going to take place at one of Tim Gordon’s Tampa Cons. It did and much of it appears in the trailer below.

Here’s some trivia before you watch:

* The screaming crowd scenes were filmed on August 20, 2006 using fans in attendance at Tim Gordon’s con.

* At 2:09 in the trailer there is a close-up reaction shot of “The James” Howell. If you look closely at the collar of his shirt, you’ll notice its red. The red was from fake blood. Earlier in the day, we had shot a scene of “The James” being attacked by a vampire in a hotel room. That scene will appear in a future Bill Black release.

* You may recognize the four mugs featured in the trailer and pictured below: starting at the top and going clockwise – 1] “The James” Howell – comic book and art collector, writer and director and all around great guy 2] me 3] John “The Master” Higashi – comic art collector, master of sketches, leader of the pack 4] John “Big” Beatty – comic book artist, king of nonsense, and my oldest friend [although not as old as Jim Ivey or Bill Black].

* John Beatty is wearing a patch in the trailer. It’s a running gag that his character, “Patch,” shows up in several of Bill’s movies. This is his second appearance with a third soon to follow!

* John Higashi gets a close-up in the trailer where he yells “Godzilla.” It was totally ad-libbed and brought down the house.


So sit down, relax, let your mind take you back to the days of drive-ins, Nightmare Theater and watch the trailer for “The Ghost of Gargantua!”

Day of the Dead [2008]

The Pitch: “Day of the Dead” updated with fast moving zombies and no George Romero.

The Good: The idea of a town being quarantined by the military. The chaos when the zombies begin attacking. Ving Rhames. Mena Suvari is a cutie. Several zombies jumping in unison out second [third?] story windows to get a people on the ground.

The Bad: Not enough Ving Rhames. Zombies climbing sheer walls and across ceilings. Zombies exploding when set on fire. Characters repeatedly making stupid decisions: [“Let’s sneak back into the city full of zombies that we escaped from so we can hold up in a room full of windows.” “Let‘s keep a zombie alive because he follows orders.”] Smart zombieszombies firing guns — a zombie not attacking people because he is a vegetarian!

The Ugly: The alternate ending. Boy, if they’d have used it the movie would have been even worse.

The Summary: “Day of the Dead” is a remake of my least favorite Romero zombie movie. If you’re a real fan of zombie movies then you probably won’t mind some of this movie’s badness [and I don’t mean badness in a good way]. If you’re just a passing fan of the genre then you ought to pass on it.

The Happening Can Wait [Spoilers]

M. Night Shyamalan burst onto the scene with his blockbuster hit, “The Sixth Sense.” Since then it’s been a bumpy ride. And while some would say that it’s been all downhill since the “Sense,” I would argue otherwise. Unfortunately the reviews on “The Happening” have been almost universally negative among fans and critics.

The movie blasts out of the shoot in the first scene with a mysterious airborne toxin causing people to kill themselves. The opening scenes are suspenseful and horrific. We’re then introduced to our four main characters: Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel are a newly married couple who are already going through a rocky phase; John Leguizamo is Wahlberg’s friend and father to young Ashlyn Sanchez.

As the four of them attempt to flee the city, reports filter in through laptops, cellphones and televisions of the toxins spreading. The movie quickly becomes a series of scenes of people either running from the wind or killing themselves as quickly as possible no matter how gruesome the death. There are some tense moments in the film [stuck at the crossroads with the toxins coming from all sides, on the porch of survivors boarded in their house, and staying overnight in the home of a truly deranged woman], but soon enough everyone’s running from the gentle breeze coming their way.

The Pitch: “The Birds” without the birds.

The Good: The opening scenes of people killing themselves as those around them try to figure out what is happening — the initial feelings of paranoia as we try to figure out what is happening — the time at the deranged lady’s [played by Betty Buckley] farm.

The Bad: Zooey Deschanel’s character/acting — the scene with the lions — the lack of conflict with what was killing everyone [how do you fight plants] — the ending.

The Ugly: The way the construction workers died — — the guy lying down in the path of the mower.

The Summary: “The Happening” isn’t one of M. Night’s best films, but it’s not as bad as most reviews would lead you to believe. My suggestion, if you haven’t seen it yet, wait to rent it.

The Face of Evil

Hearing Charles Manson talking always stops me in my tracks. Maybe it’s because I was ten years old when the murders that made Manson infamous were committed. Then seeing Manson during his trial with his defiant attitude, “hypnotic” eyes, “creepy crawlers,” shaved and carved heads and family of followers — all of it definitely made an impact on this little kid… especially when I learned that Manson had served time in my hometown of Terre Haute, Ind.

When I was in high school I read Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter and at the time it was one of the most shocking books I’d ever devoured. I remember watching Tom Snyder’s interview with Manson when it originally aired in 1981. Since then, whenever an interview with Manson [and they are rare], airs, I find myself tuning in to hear his rants. It’s hard to believe that this little man who had less than twenty years of freedom his entire life became the embodiment of evil for at least one generation.

Fear It Won’t Be Good

Anyone planning to tune in to NBC’s new horror series, Fear Itself? The series is being billed as weekly one hour horror movies from the creators of “Saw,” “Jeepers Creepers,” “Freddy vs Jason” and some other recent scarefests. Truth be told, I plan to DVR the series, but I’m not expecting too much. Still, a little good horror goes a long way.

The Black Sleep

Last night I was in the mood for an old-time horror movie. But what to watch? How about one starring Basil [Sherlock Holmes] Rathbone [as the mad scientist], Lon [The Wolfman] Chaney, Jr. [as one of the monsters], Bela [Dracula] Lugosi [as Rathbone’s assistant], John [Dracula] Carradine [as a madman] and Tor [“Plan 9 from Outer Space] Johnson [as another monster]? Yep, “The Black Sleep” fit the bill perfectly!

 

What, you’ve never heard of “The Black Sleep”? I wouldn’t be surprised. Unless you’re a real aficionado of the horror genre, you probably haven’t. I guess that’s what makes it a cult film. The sad thing is, “The Black Sleep” is one of the better low-budget 50’s horror films. So let’s take a look at it…

The Pitch: “Frankenstein” meets “The Island of Doctor Moreau.” A mad scientist [Rathbone] frames a former student [Herbert Rudley] for murder and then helps him escape the gallows. In return Rudley must help Rathbone with his evil experiments which turn his subjects into monsters.

The Good: The movie is introduced by Lon Madnight! Having Lugosi [in his final role] along with Chaney, Carradine, Johnson and Rathbone sharing screen-time is a hoot for any horror fan. Akim Tamiroff as Odo the Gypsy steals every scene he’s in. The screenplay is more complex than most of the genre — we have the mad scientist performing evil experiments, but he does so in hopes of learning a way to save his dying wife — we have a framed hero who must solve a murder mystery in order to clear his name — we have monsters chained in hidden cells below the castle, but they are victims of Rathbone’s experiments — at the same time the police are following leads leading to… a great climax with the monsters breaking free just as… ah, but that would be giving it away! [Be sure to keep watching after “The End” credit appears — there’s an added bonus!]

The Bad: What the experiments do to the subjects! Poor Bela is regulated to the role of a mute assistant — he was in terrible health in his final days. The hero’s name is Gordon Ramsay.  (Yep, reminded me of the Hell’s Kitchen guy.)

The Ugly: Tor Johnson, Lon Chaney and the rest of the monsters! Also there’s a great scare with a beautiful girl who’s suddenly revealed to be one of the monsters!

In Summary: “The Black Sleep” is a welcome addition to any horror fan’s library. The transfer is crisp and clean with excellent sound. The disc also includes trailers for other films in the AC DVD library as well as the first chapter of a Blackhawk cliffhanger serial. “The Black Sleep” is another winner from Bill Black.