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    The chair creaks as you settle onto it. The candlelight flickers. All around you the ravenous faces of your so-called friends twist in delight as you slowly open the box laid out on the table. Welcome to Dangerous Games! Each week, we'll feature a horror/thriller/monster tabletop game you should be playing. Don't be scared… roll the dice… what's the worst that could happen?


    'Catacombs' - Sands of Time Games (2010)

    You're creeping through a dank, vile catacomb. All around you the smiling faces of skulls seem to move and chatter in your torchlight. You, so called "brave" adventurer, have been sent down into these unhallowed tombs to find the vile lich, or to slay to corrupted dragon, or to kill the dreaded sorcerer. These catacombs seem to beg for your blood, can you and your friends flick your way to victory?

    Yes, that's right, I said "flick your way to victory." 'Catacombs' is a game for two to five players that combines the atmosphere of a fantasy dungeon crawl with a dexterity-based flicking game. Your characters are represented by small discs, and you'll spend the game flicking them at your opponents to move and "deal damage." And if that's not enough, it's all flavored to look at feel more like horror/fantasy, rather than just a vanilla adventure.

    Gameplay Mechanics

    As mentioned above, the chief mechanic in this game is disc flicking. One player will play the roll of the Overseer. He controls all the monsters, including the final boss. The other players will control one of four heroes, each of them with a special set of abilities and special moves they can do. There's the thief, the wizard, the elf and the barbarian.

    As players flick their way across the board they'll earn gold from killing monsters. With that they can buy items at a set time in the game. There are multiple boards with room for obstacles built into them, and the game continues until either all the heroes are killed (and the Overseer wins) or until the heroes make it into the final room and kill the final boss (and the players win).

    Replay Value

    This is not a long game. You can play through a full adventure in under an hour. As such, it has a lot of appeal to lighter-game fans. If you like a game you can set up quickly and play in that short amount of time, you'll definitely keep coming back to 'Catacombs.' It is a lighter game, without heavy and overbearing rules, so it's a pleasure to return to.

    Overall Impressions

    This is one of those games that I've been staring at on the shelf of my local game shop. I finally did some research and scooped it up, and I'm really glad I did. This won all types of awards for "most innovative game" the year it came out. That's for good reason, this is an awesome, completely wild, new way to play a game. If you can find yourself a copy and you like your horror splashed with elves… check it out!

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    LEGO horror villains

    Tomorrow marks the stateside home video release of You're Next, which saw release over in the UK today.  As a fun little promotional campaign for the release, the company handling the UK distribution had custom LEGO figures of horror icons whipped up, which they used for the infographic seen above.  If you saw the graphic getting shared around the internet this past weekend, I'm willing to bet that you were left wondering if there was any possible way you could get your hands on these awesome figures, and today we're happy to report that there indeed is!

    UK company MINIFIGS.ME specalizes in custom-made personalized LEGOs, and they're the ones who created the promotional figures.  Realizing that horror fans were probably going to want them, they've made the six iconic villains available for sale over on their website, ranging in price from approximately $18 (Norman Bates) to $25 (Freddy Krueger).  Each of the killers comes equipped with their own weapon of choice, Jack Torrance clutching his trusty axe and You're Next's Fox Mask brandishing a deadly crossbow.

    Head over to the Mini Figs website to purchase your favorite villains, and to find out how you can get yourself a custom LEGO figure, made in your likeness!

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    One of the key components to a successful horror film is a memorable adversary for the protagonists. Often, the villain is human, or once was. Sometimes the foe is a possessed home, or a revenant that just won’t die. In rare cases, the monster is something a little more… unusual. As evidenced in the list below, we sometimes discover the enemy is more bizarre than we could ever dream: evil objects, demonic playthings, even malevolent pastries... monsters come in many forms. With that said, it’s time to take a walk down memory lane and look at ten more of the most unconventional monsters in horror cinema history. [Check out our first ten here.]
    Note: To avoid a list that features nothing but SyFy Channel originals, we are only considering films that premiered in a medium other than cable television.
    Dolly Dearest
    The Child’s Play franchise is hands-down better than Dolly Dearest, and we would never dream of trying to convince you otherwise. But the logic behind this film making the cut over Chucky is simply due to the fact that the Chuckster actually looks malevolent, even in his inanimate state, and seeing the little creep come to life as a killer seems like less of a leap than a whole factory full of reanimated Barbies on a homicidal rampage. 
    The Turkey from Thankskilling
    There are a handful of horror films set around Thanksgiving, but Thankskilling is quite possibly the only proper Thanksgiving-based horror film currently in existence. (If and when completed, Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving will join that very short list.) The lecherous, homicidal turkey is easily one of the most bizarre adversaries depicted on screen; it defies all logic and is so ridiculous that the films in this franchise are kind of fun. Thankskilling is also the only film series to ever skip its own sequel and go straight to a threequel.
    The Puppets from the Puppet Master Series
    David Schmoeller’s Puppet Master and its sequels feature some of the strangest antagonists ever to hit the screen. Pint-sized puppets that take on victims 100 times their size are pretty unusual, but somehow it works. The little creeps look so demure at first glance, but there's nothing innocent about these little sadists. Fans of the franchise may find it interesting that the "Blade" character is a likeness of Klaus Kinski, who starred in Schmoeller's 1986 film Crawlspace.
    Big Ass Spider!
    The latest effort from creative genius Mike Mendez (The Gravedancers) is a fun and ridiculous romp. The titular character is absolutely absurd; a giant alien arachnid is on a par with villains like Mega Piranha. But what sets it apart from other films of its ilk is that Big Ass Spider is well-written, features fun performances, and the creative team played up the camp factor just enough to let the audience know they were aware of how ridiculous the premise was... but not so much as to annoy them.
    Evil Bong
    Just when you start to think there’s nothing left that hasn’t been done, a movie like Evil Bong comes along. Starring stoner legend Tommy Chong, this film was obviously made for (and possibly by) marijuana enthusiasts. Those less partial to the sinsemilla may not appreciate it as much. However, it’s hard not to laugh at the exploits of a maniacal bong.
    Uncle Sam
    This 1997 low budget schlockfest isn’t meant to be taken seriously, but it's kind of fun for what it is. A patriotic killer dressed up as Uncle Sam is certainly out of the ordinary, but somehow the concept works. With horror icon William Lustig (Maniac) in the director's chair, it’s not a total surprise that Uncle Sam has its own fanbase. 
    The Refrigerator
    This is yet another example of a ridiculous inorganic monster:the telepathic title appliance, which literally sends its victims to Hell. A killer fridge is right up there with the tire from Rubber (which made our previous list) as the last thing that springs to mind when you think of potentially threatening inanimate objects... but that didn’t stop Nicholas Jacobs from exploring the concept in a feature film. 
    Terror Toons
    In Terror Toons, the titular characters escape from a DVD and out of the television screen; after that, they start on a killing rampage. Of course they do. Even the film’s ever-present camp factor couldn’t save this dud from being one of the most poorly-reviewed films of 2002. In spite of that panning, the film somehow demanded a sequel, so the world was introduced to Terror Toons 2 in 2007.
    The Toxic Avenger
    Toxie is technically not a villain – he's the protagonist of the franchise – but he is a monster, and he does kill people. A hero that gains his powers from being submerged in toxic waste is pretty brilliant, and Lloyd Kaufman’s flahship Troma release succeeds as a genre film, a comedy, and a satire of our nation’s disregard for the environment and future generations. Toxie is a fantastic creation, and Kaufman is a genius. The End. 
    The GingerDead Man
    Brought to you by the same company responsible for the cinematic classic Evil Bong, this holiday horror film may be worth watching for the novelty factor alone, but certainly for no other reason. Its lead antagonist, voiced in the first film by none other than Gary Busey, is made of dough. Not that the film is meant to be fine cinema... but it’s hard to take something like this even a little seriously. 
    [Fans of unconventional movie monsters rejoice: GingerDead Man vs. Evil Bong will be available on DVD January 21st. ]

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    Clown Eli Roth

    The release of Grindhouse in 2007 started a trend of fans making their own fake trailers for horror movies that don't really exist, inspired by Eli Roth's Thanksgiving and Edgar Wright's Don't.  One of those faux trailers that came along in the wake of the film was Jon Watts' Clown, which claimed to have the involvement of Eli Roth.  In truth, Roth had nothing whatsoever to do with the film, which many horror fans were bummed to discover wasn't actually a film at all.

    That is... until now.

    To make a long story short, Roth ended up seeing the trailer, and was so impressed with it that he helped Watts turn the idea into an actual feature length horror film.  Set for release sometime in the near future, Clown centers on a father who puts on a clown costume to entertain his son, and soon finds himself unable to take it off.  The curly wig fuses with his real hair, the red nose becomes a part of his own and even the makeup can't be washed off.  Turns out, the spirit of an evil killer clown has overtaken the man, and it won't be happy until he kills everyone he loves.

    Check out the just released official trailer for Clown, and you'll also find Watts' original faux trailer below it!

    UPDATE: Trailer was taken down at studio request but you can still see the original faux Clown trailer below.


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    If you were caught up in the “polar vortex” that blasted through the U.S. and Canada last week, you may have seen some of the seriously spooky stuff that happens to water at extreme subzero temperatures. One of the most heart-stopping examples of freezing phenomena took place at Niagara Falls after the thermometer stayed below zero long enough – and the gigantic waterfall partially froze.
    Photo: Aaron Haris/Reuters
    Reuters photographer Aaron Harris captured the spooky 200-foot ice curtains that encased the falls, which sits on the border between the U.S. and Canada. The formations shown here are on the U.S. side.
    Photo: Aaron Haris/Reuters
    While it's extremely rare for such a massive waterfall to freeze this deeply, this incident may not be the first: one early account comes from the mid-19th century, and the Niagara Falls Public Library has archival photos from the early and middle 20th century depicting frozen falls. According to Yahoo News, the authenticity of those early images (not to mention several “new” entries circulating the web) is now in question, but in this case it's definitely the real deal.
    Photo: Aaron Haris/Reuters
    Check out the entire breathtaking slideshow at Yahoo News.

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    If it weren't for the many accounts from people who claim to have seen it, the chimera-like cryptid known as the “Dingonek” would be easy to write off as way too absurd to be real... because this is definitely one bizarre beast.
    According to the lore of the Congolese Wa-Ndorobo tribe, the Dingonek (depicted above in an ancient cave painting) is sort of a hybrid of scorpion and walrus, covered with spotted reptilian scales, sporting huge tusks and a tail tipped with a venomous barb. The monster actually bears a strong resemblance to an 18-foot creature allegedly sighted in 1907 in Kenya by explorer John Alfred Jordan – who claims he was unable to bring it down, despite shooting it with a high-powered rifle.
    Cryptozoologists have noted that the Dingonek legend is remarkably similar to predatory beasts reported throughout Africa – including the so-called “Water Lions” of Angola, Congo and many other regions.

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    Steve Casino horror nuts

    One man's trash is another man's treasure, as they say, and for artist Steve Casino, this little pearl of wisdom most definitely applies.  Rather than going out and buying expensive canvases, and painting his work onto them, Casino instead paints the shells of peanuts, which the rest of us toss in the trash once we've consumed their tasty contents.  He calls himself 'the painter of nuts,' and you'll be amazed at the creations he's able to turn them into.

    Steve Casino Munsters

    Though Casino turns his nuts into all sorts of iconic pop culture characters, from Elvis Presley to Doctor Who, it's his horror nuts that we're of course most impressed with here on FEARNET.  Herman and Lily Munster, Alfred Hitchcock and Dracula are just a few of the horror icons that have been depicted in Casino's incredibly unique form of art, which recently caught the attention of Good Morning America.  His process first begins with finding the perfectly shaped peanut for each individual job, which he then paints and spices up with things like hair, arms, legs and various other accessories.  The results?  Nuts that you'd rather look at than eat!

    Check out more of Casino's horror-inspired creations below, and see even more peanut art over on his website!

    Creature from the Black Lagoon

    Bride of Frankenstein

    Universal Monsters

    Alfred Hitchcock

    Addams Family

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  • 01/13/14--14:30: FEARnet Movie Review: 'Raze'
  • razeA beautiful young woman wakes up in a dark basement, only to discover that she's being held captive by a pair of lunatics who...

    Oh, you've seen this horror movie before? Fine. Let me finish.
    ...force young women to pummel one another to death in a series of bare-knuckle brawls that would make Chuck Norris cringe in fear.
    Right. Josh Waller's stripped-down, admirably gritty, and very expeditious indie flick Raze is only about 25% horror -- and 75% down and dirty fisticuffs among ferocious females. The hook is that A) each fight is to the death, B) the final winner gets to live, and C) anyone who loses or refuses to fight can watch the death of their loved ones via hidden camera. Like I said, it's a pretty dark little action horror mash-up.
    Zoe Bell, the stuntwoman-turned-actor who brings a nice sense of sincerity to even the craziest genre films, stars as Sabrina, a very talented fighter who (obviously) doesn't want to kill anyone, but neither does she want her estranged daughter killed by a sniper. It's that sort of Saw-style "damned if you do, damned if you don't" theme that brings a nice dash of horror to what's essentially a soul-bruising action-fest.
    Let's be frank for a second: if Raze was a dark thriller about a bunch of men reluctantly battling to the death inside a dank prison, it might be fun or it might not be -- but that'd be a movie we've all seen before. The "novelty" here, and it definitely shines, is that, when push comes to shove, women can be just as tough, as calculating, and as heartless as men. And Ms. Bell is not the only one here who can fight. If you're going to make a tough, simple mash-up of Battle Royale, Fight Club, and a basic prison movie and cast it entirely with young women, be sure to hire women who can fight. 
    In that regard Raze is a blast; a kinetic, brutal, occasionally punishing, and sometimes visually impressive piece of low-budget action mayhem. The flick might just be a simplistic tale of non-stop fighting, but those fight sequences kick some serious ass. Throw in creepily weird contributions from Sherilyn Fenn and Doug Jones as the "fight master," and a dark, jumpy score that keeps things moving, and Raze is simply a gender-friendly twist on a very conventional tale, but it's still a rather fun way to spend 85 minutes if you're tired of the same old action.


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    We're all very familiar with the great Alfred Hitchcock's impact on horror and suspense cinema – even the way in which modern horror tales are told. But not as many know the legendary fear-maker once took on a film project that actually gave him nightmares: a feature documentary on the very real horrors of the Holocaust.
    According to The Independent, Hitchcock and his long-time associate Sidney Bernstein began work on the documentary in 1945, basing it on film shot by British and Soviet military film crews during the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The uncut footage frightened the stoic filmmaker so deeply that he actually avoided the studio for a week.
    Photo: Getty Images
    The film was originally intended to fully expose the Nazis' war atrocities to the world, but was shelved for multiple reasons – including delays in production, the changing political climate in the UK, and the debate over whether the film would damage postwar relations with Germany. It was finally shelved in the British Imperial War Museum and forgotten until years after the director's death in 1980. 
    The Museum has nearly completed restoration of the surviving reels, as well as digitally reconstructing footage from one missing reel. The completed feature (the title is still under wraps) will be accompanied by a new documentary entitled Night Will Fall. Both are slated to premiere in 2015, to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Europe.

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    The giant squid has been described as one of the most elusive creatures of the sea, and classified as the largest invertebrate on planet Earth.  In fact, it wasn't until 2004 that researchers were ever able to even film one of the massive sea monsters in its natural habitat, and very rarely have they been glimpsed over the years, aside from corpses washing ashore from time to time.

    So you can imagine the surprise of one Japanese fisherman, when he unexpectedly netted one of the elusive creatures last week.

    As reported by The Huffington Post, Shigenori Goto is the man who made the rare catch, while he was fishing for yellowtails off Japan's Sadogashima Island.  Around 7am, Goto spotted the giant male squid, catching it in his net and dragging it to the surface.  Unfortunately, the 13-foot long, 350-pound beast died soon after it was taken out of its natural habitat, though researchers still say the catch will prove to be incredibly useful for them.

    Below you'll find video footage taken of the terrifying monster, which you probably shouldn't watch if you've got a fear of the things that go splash in the night!

    It's estimated that giant squid can grow to sizes of 43-feet long, making this guy a mere baby in comparison.  A frightening thought, isn't it?!

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    hide and seekIt sure seems like a lot of Asian horror films have to do with real estate in one way or another. I'm thinking specifically of the Grudge series from Japan and the rather excellent Dream Home (2010) from Hong Kong, but I'm certain there are several others. (Hey, I needed a clever opening.) And of course I brought up that first point because I have another solid import to add to the list: Korea's Hide and Seek, which comes from first-time writer/director Jung Huh, and was a pretty big hit in its native country.

    Best described as a mystery/thriller that delves deeply into horror territory by the time the kinetically entertaining third act shows up, Hide and Seek ("Sum-bakk-og-jil" in Korean) starts out with a creepy little misdirection of a subplot that makes a lot more sense later on, but is mainly about a dour and fastidious middle-aged family man (Son Hyun-joo) who learns that his long-estranged brother -- one who was once banished from the family for reasons of a horrific nature -- has gone missing. This brings the disinterested but guilt-ridden Sung-soo to an apartment complex full of secrets, mysteries, weird ladies, unhappy children, and squatters who live inside empty rooms and burrow into occupied living quarters. It all gets pretty weird.
    Jung Huh's screenplay strikes an enjoyable balance between the main story (Sung-soo quickly discovers all sorts of disturbing things about his missing brother, which immediately puts his pretty wife and two adorable kids in serious danger) and the "flashback" material that explains why our ostensible hero is so unhappy, so obsessive, and so damn guilt-ridden about the fate of his long-lost brother. 
    But worthwhile subplots and legitimate character development are not necessarily the main course here; they merely serve as a welcome garnish to the film's main course of suspense, scares,and unexpected surprises. At its best moments, Hide and Seek doles out both "crowd-pleasing" moments of hardcore suspense and a handful of sequences that horror fans will certainly appreciate. And for a first-time feature director, Jung Huh certainly knows how to stage a scene, shoot it well, and cut it together for maximum intensity.
    Hide and Seek is not exactly a deep or highly insightful piece of horror / thriller / mystery filmmaking, nor is it exactly all that original, but it is well-made and slickly effective, and it has no problem juggling three complementary genres at the same time. You may see some of the twists coming, but you might not. And some of the scarier bits are just plain old fun.

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    Dragon young girl

    An adorable letter from a 7-year-old Australian girl began surfacing around the internet last week, which she recently sent off to the scientists at CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization).  In the hand-written letter, young Sophie asked scientists if they could breed her a dragon pet, saying that she would call it Toothless if it was a girl, and Stuart if it was a boy.  "Would it be possible if you could make a dragon for me?," she wrote.  "I would like it if you could, but if you can't that's fine."

    Though the scientists initially wrote back that dragons aren't real, and that even they therefore couldn't make her dream a reality, they eventually thought better of squashing her How To Train a Dragon-inspired fantasies, and utilized the incredible power of 3D printers to make her wish come true.  As we spotted over on Geeks Are Sexy, the scientists at the organization ended up printing a 3D dragon out of titanium, based on Sophie's drawing, which they have indeed named Toothless.  The blue dragon is currently on its way to Sophie's home in Brisbane, and I can only hope that someone catches her smile on film, when Toothless arrives on her doorstep.  Go you, scientists.

    Check out a short video of Toothless below, which shows the process of her creation!

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    Bates Motel was one of last season's most enjoyable shows, so I am very excited that it returns for a second season in March. A&E just released the first two teases for season two.

    Someone's at the door.

    Plus, enjoy this little "making of season two" video courtesy of Shock Till You Drop:



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    It's always an exciting thing when big name stars are attached to genre films, and the upcoming flick Repentance is full of them.  Produced by and starring Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker, the thriller also stars Anthony Mackie, Mike Epps and Sanaa Lathan as four characters whose lives intersect and are forever changed as a result.

    Directed by Philippe Caland, the psychological thriller centers around Mackie's Tommy Carter, a therapist and spiritual advisor who's still dealing with the trauma of an alcohol-induced car crash that nearly took his life.  In an effort to raise funds to help his brother (Mike Epps), Tommy takes on a troubled man named Angel Sanchez (Whitaker) as a personal client, and soon finds that Sanchez's problems are a danger to his well-being, to say the least.

    Repentance will be getting a limited theatrical rollout on February 28th.  In the meantime, you can meet the four main characters from the film below, with these easy to digest character introduction teasers.  Learn more about the film over on the official website.

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    Don't go freaking out just yet... the existence of the humongous arachnid species nicknamed “J'ba Fofi” (literally “giant spider”) by natives of the Congo hasn't been officially verified. But if someone out there proves this thing actually exists beyond myths and rumors (and assuming they survive an encounter with it), we might as well give up now and accept spiders as our new global overlords.
    Some cryptozoologists maintain that the J'ba Fofi is a species of tarantula native to equatorial Africa – one which may have been common to the area in the past but is nearing extinction due to deforestation. Their theories are supported by accounts by local tribes, who describe the spider as brown and purple in color, with legs up to five feet long. They are said to be extremely aggressive, with venom powerful enough to bring down medium-sized mammals – so even though sightings are rare, natives avoid them at all costs.
    According to Cryptid Wiki, one of the first documented tales of the creature dates back to 1938, when a British couple were traveling through the Congo and saw what they thought was a cat or a monkey... until they realized it had eight legs.

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    With director Tammi Sutton’s much-buzzed about and award-winning feature Isle of Dogs premiering in Los Angeles this coming Saturday night at the New Beverly Cinema (7165 West Beverly Blvd.), we caught up with the filmmaker to discuss her thoughts on the premiere and feature, as well as those on Whispers, her latest project, and more. 

    “I'm excited to announce my feature film Isle of Dogs is playing at The New Beverly,” Sutton, who also executive produced from a script by Seth Hogan, told us of the L.A. bow of her bloody, British crime-thriller. Isle of Dog stars Andrew Howard (I Spit On Your Grave) as a violent gangster who finds himself embroiled in a love triangle with his Russian trophy-wife Nadia (Hostel actress Barbara Nedeljakova), and a small-time hood (Edward Hogg).

    “As a filmmaker, on a very personal level, I had always dreamed of filming something in England,” Sutton told us.

    “I had grown up on a steady diet of British film and television, from Dr. Who, Hammer classic horror, James Bond films, Faulty Towers, and any and all other classic comedy, sci-fi, horror, and dramas you can name from the UK.  As I got older, I seriously got interested in the British gangster and Italian giallo films, so while traveling in England and Europe, they were all I could think about.  The band Goblin was the soundtrack for my travels.  Honestly, if I'd had gone to Italy in the 70’s, I'm sure I'd have ended up like the girls in the end of the film To Be Twenty."

    Sutton has proven herself an engagingly formidable and supportive member of the L.A. horror scene. “On one of my trips to Berlin to scout Babelsberg Studios during the Berlinale Film Festival, I was hanging out with producer and friend Travis Stevens, who I adore, and I mentioned to him that I was ready to make a movie that I wanted to see, and that I would have a real passion for, but that I needed a strong British writer to help bring my ideas to life.  Travis and I went to a great bowling alley-karaoke party in Germany, and he insisted that I meet British writer Sean Hogan, and that was it.  Sean and I connected in London shortly after, and Isle of Dogs was born.” 

    As for her directorial approach to the flick, “It was not what I was used to,” she said openly.

    “Previous to this film I had only done work-for-hire types of films.  I was used to heavy guidelines and particulars from casting, music choices, locations, and everything else imaginable.  This one was different in every way.  The freedom that came with Isle of Dogs also came with new self-induced expectations and challenges, and sometimes, fears.  Simply put, I had no one to hide behind or make excuses to when it came to making artistic choices, and I'd never felt so scared in my life.  I'd never felt so free either.  It was the stuff directors and filmmakers dream of.  I appreciate every single moment of that experience. I had a very special, strong team of cast and crew, and hope that they all know that I needed every bit of their support and every bit of their ribbing.  I made a film that, at the end of the day, I can say that I fell in love with, and I’m excited I finally get to share it with others.”

    Regarding Sutton’s upcoming work, she’s currently finishing her next feature, Whispers, a psychological thriller which stars Keeley Hazell and Craig Rees, along with Nedeljakova, Phil Bloomberg and Diane Goldner (Feast).  The synopsis is as follows:  "When a young mother (Hazell) loses her child, she retreats to the British countryside with her husband (Rees) to his childhood home, only to find herself haunted by her darkest fears."  Filming for Whispers is still in production and additional cast members will be announced soon.

    Tickets to the screening, which takes place at 11:55 PM this Saturday (with a Q&A to follow with Sutton and star Nedeljakova) can be purchased hereIsle of Dogs releases on DVD on January 28th via Green Apple Entertainment. Follow the flick on Twitter and on Facebook

    Stay tuned for more!

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    Gizmo Kill Bill

    In the opening scene of Gremlins 2: The New Batch, loveable Mogwai Gizmo sees a clip of Rambo: First Blood Part 2 on TV, which inspires him to fight back against Stripe and his evil allies later on in the film - tying a red bandana around his head and launching an all out John Rambo-inspired assault on his fellow Gremlins.  But what if the sequel had been made in the 2000s, rather than in the 1990s?  What action flick would Gizmo be more likely to catch a clip of on TV, and use as inspiration to fight back?  Kill Bill, perhaps?

    The violence of Quentin Tarantino meets the humor of Joe Dante in this incredibly fun animated mash-up video, which imagines a world where Gizmo indeed does take inspiration from Uma Thurman's bloody revenge on O-Ren Ishii and her Crazy 88, rather than on John Rambo's assault on enemy troops.  The man behind the gory re-imagining of Gremlins 2 is Samuel Toniolo, and it took him about a year's worth of work to complete - now that's dedication!

    Hit the play button below to watch the green blood fly in Kill Stripe!

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    Next on our tour of abandoned amusement parks is Joyland in Wichita, Kansas. First founded in 1933 to display a miniature train, then moved locations in 1949 to the place it still stands today. In the early 1970s, the Ottaway family sold the park to Stanley and Margaret Nelson, who added the majority of the rides that still stand today.

    Joyland closed in 2004 for both economical and safety concerns. It briefly reopened for the 2006 season when the T-Rex Group leased the park and did some renovations. It has sat empty since 2006, with only vandals and arsonists and urban explorers visiting the site. Locals have started an aggressive campaign to raise funds to restore the park, and were recently granted tax-exempt status. The park includes many historical relics, including the last standing wooden roller coaster by the famous Philadelphia Toboggan Company; the last Wacky Shack to be built by designer Bill Tracy (only months before he died); and one of two Mammoth Military Band Organs from the Wurlitzer Company (and it was played by a terrifying clown named Louie).

    But of course, you are here for the pictures of a once-happy place that now looks like it has been taken over by zombies.

    For more abandoned amusement parks, check out Miracle Strip in Florida; Disney World's Abandoned Parks; Prehistoric Forest in Michigan; and Okpo Land in Korea.

    Photos courtesy of Imgur

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    We've been seeing a lot of plague doctors roaming the genre landscape lately – ominous figures in long overcoats, wide-brimmed hats, raven-beak masks and goggles are becoming a regular sight in cosplay circles, where the look is often embellished with gothic, cyberpunk or steampunk accents. The doctor's popularity spiked again in 2009 after his appearance in the game Assassin's Creed II, and talented artists continue to turn out some amazing variations on the theme.
    The real-life plague doctor was a fairly common sight in Europe's Dark Ages, especially in Germany, Italy, France and Holland. He was usually not a doctor in the professional sense, but a public contractor hired to care for and document victims of bubonic plague – which first surfaced in the 6th century and wiped out millions of people across Europe in the centuries to follow. Plague doctors often received privileges not normally given to surgeons – including permission to perform autopsies – but they were also forbidden from coming into contact with the uninfected.
    Image: Eugen Holländer Archive/Wikimedia Commons
    It wasn't until the 17th century that the doc's distinctive look came into play, as designed by Charles de L'Orme in 1619. The “beak” contained aromatic materials designed to purify air breathed through the mouthpiece. Of course, that didn't actually work – such was the limit of medical knowledge at the time – but the waterproof full-body coverings were still a strong defense against contamination. As you can see, the look is hardly comforting, and his appearance in town was a sign of certain doom... in fact, to most people he was the personification of Death itself.
    Photo: Tracy Elaine via Flickr
    The doctor's appearance was the subject of a popular poem, and the beak-shaped mask was incorporated into stage plays, carnivals and other performances, usually representing Death. The look eventually became fashionable at masquerade parties, and the character's cultural popularity today is a modern extension of that trend.

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    Roach in ear

    We've all likely been spooked by stories that suggest all sorts of creepy crawlies enter our noses, ears and even mouths while we sleep, the bugs eager to find a warm and cozy place to spend the night.  But does it actually happen?  Do we actually eat insects while we sleep?  And do the bugs that roam around our houses really convert our other orifices into hotel rooms?  The answer to all of these questions is, unforunately, yes.

    As reported by ABC, Australian man Hendrik Helmer was startled awake early last Wednesday morning by a sharp pain in his ear, and he immediately suspected that an insect was to blame.  Racked with overwhelming pain, Helmer made several attempts to remove the potential bug from his ear canal, including using a vacuum cleaner to try and suck it out, all of which did nothing but drive the creature further into his ear.

    Out of options, Helmer had his roomate take him to the hospital, where initial attempts to drown out the bug also failed.  It began to burrow deeper and deeper into his ear, forcing the doctor to grab a pair of forceps and dig it out.  Turns out, it was a cockroach that turned Helmer's ear into a literal Roach Motel, and the sucker measured in at 2 centimeters long.

    Free of pain, Helmer says his sleeping habits will not be changed because of the incident, though some friends of his have begun sleeping with headphones on.  Not a bad idea, if I may say so myself!

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