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    There's a gazillion horror-themed metal bands out there, and while they're usually enthusiastic and sincere, only a handful manage to distinguish themselves with both talent and originality. So it's always an exciting moment, especially on Halloween, to unearth a black diamond of musical horror in the genre. There are also dozens of indie labels out there specializing in horror music, but one of the more prominent names in the field is Razorback Records, who have discovered some intriguing artists of many modes, ranging from old-school giallo rock like Sweden's Anima Morte and analog electronics with an '80s slasher vibe, to straight-up splatter-metal nastiness. One of the label's latest metal acquisitions is the Louisiana-based outfit Orloff, who take their name from Nosferatu's legendary villain and drape their death, doom and black metal creations in a shroud of gothic atmosphere.
    After hearing a three-song demo titled Swamp of the Ravens (named appropriately after a bayou-set grindhouse horror flick), the label picked up the band this spring, and by summer's end they had completed recording their first studio album Apparitions Among the Graveyard Skies, a thirteen-track opus overflowing with gothic organ, horror movie samples, and a spectrum of metal styles ranging from low, clean guitar picking saturated with reverb to swampy doom chords and dirty grinding riffs, accompanied by a vocal mix of beastly growls and banshee screams supplied by all band members... who conceal their secret identities behind the names Alucarda Bellows (vocals), Assassin (guitars), Coffin Fiend (drums) and Waldemar De Marnac (bass, vocals).
    The gothic legacy of Hammer Films must have provided a major creative influence on the band, who bookend the album with tracks named after two of that studio's horror classics, Vampire Circus and Blood from the Mummy's Tomb. The intro is a simple and melancholy organ piece, but the closing cut is a sinister death-rock instrumental featuring a burning mid-range guitar solo that perfectly summons the image of swirling Sahara sands. The band's sense of cinema is well-defined in these framing tracks, but it's the material in between that brings the brain-busting horror to life. 
    "Cobwebbed and Decayed" has a stomping rhythm supporting a solid opening riff and a prancing solo guitar before the main vocal arrives. While death metal growls in the lowest range are often indecipherable (with many bands proud of that fact), the lead here, one of the deepest I've heard in a long time, is more distinct thanks to a mix that accents the lower frequencies; a touch of reverb adds just the right hellish effect. "Crimson Deathshroud,” which you can hear at the end of this article, is a good showcase of the band's multi-textured approach, opening with a long passage of organ and sliding into a clean but slightly burnished riff that gets crunchier in the verses and doubles speed to speedy tremolo picking as the vocals switch up to higher-range demonic black metal snarls. "House Where the Beast Dwells" kicks off with a menacing dropped riff that alternates with a gritty groove, making this one a solid fist-pumper. The downish-tempo "Count Orloff Has Risen From the Grave" opens with a Spanish-style acoustic guitar and has a more pensive sound overall, but it's still got moments of intense menace and an excellent solo. Blastbeats and Slayer modeled riff passages form the undercurrent of "Thrall of The Death's Head,” but there's also a couple of wicked lead guitar lines dripping with evil harmonics.
    "Nine Eternities in Doom” is a title derived from the Vincent Price classic The Abominable Dr. Phibes, and contains pipe organ samples from that film... but it's also got a creepy Necrophagia-style riff that's one of the most memorable on the album and my personal favorite. The dirty rolling riffs and snarls of "Paralyzed Entities" suddenly give way to a mellow baritone acoustic break, which in a way is one of the more dramatic shocks on the album. The title track provides another melancholy instrumental interlude in the form of a double-tracked acoustic solo, but the reverb sounds a bit claustrophobic this time. "The Needful Revenge of Arthur Grimsdyke,” a tribute to Peter Cushing's character in the 1972 Amicus anthology Tales from the Crypt, is a slower, doomier track, but the swift march-tempo drumming keeps things intense. The thrashed-up "Chamber of Chills" features a more straightforward lead vocal, spinning a tale of a gravedigger's unnatural fascination with his latest “client.” The last lyrical cut "Master of the Morbid" is a tribute to Poe, set to an old-school dark metal song structure and featuring a Cushing soundbite from another cool anthology film, Torture Garden.
    Another nice touch to this disc is the offer of a free “Limited Edition Orloff barf bag” to the first 100 customers who order Apparitions – a promotional gimmick vintage horror buffs will fondly remember from the '70s and '80s (I still have an original bag from the US release of Lucio Fulci's Zombie... unused, thankfully). As of this writing, there may still be some available... not counting mine, of course. Sorry about that, but how could I refuse? This swag is sweet. 
    With the bag or without, if you're planning an extreme Halloween loaded with gothic gloom and deathly doom, this CD is a must for your collection. The art is winning too, including an EC-comics style cover by Mario Lopez and creepy ink portraits by Reuben Splatterbeast depicting beloved horror stars on the inside liner (including Peter Cushing as Grimsdyke).
    Now take a chug of Orloff's deadly brew with “Crimson Deathshroud”...


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    Note: The film I'm about to review is not a remake of the obscure 1986 Klaus Kinski psycho thriller Crawlspace. I feel silly even having to mention this, but Hollywood has remade The House on Sorority Row, The Crazies, and The Toolbox Murders, so I don't even know what qualifies as "obscure" anymore.

    If you combine the phrases "Australian," "science fiction," and "horror" into the description of a new movie, I'll be the first guy in line to see it. Attribute my affection for Aussie cinema to childhood screenings of films like Patrick, Razorback, and Mad Max 2 (aka The Road Warrior), but I've always appreciated the indie Aussies' approach to mood, tension, action, and enthusiasm for car chases, fist fights, gun battles, crazy monsters, and violence with an outback attitude. I say all this because the most recent export from Australia's genre department is more or less a disappointment. The sci-fi / action / horror hybrid known as Crawlspace has numerous assets in its corner, but it suffers mightily from being plain old drab, redundant, and irritatingly familiar in the "plot" department.
    That plot is this: a bunch of gung-ho soldiers are about to invade a top-secret underground government facility that's located beneath the middle of nowhere. There's been some sort of security breach, and the soldiers are a painfully Aliens-style brigade of tough-talkin' ass-kickers. After much wandering through dimly-lit hallways and mysterious laboratories, the soldiers come across (in no particular order) a monster, a mad scientist, a powerful telekinetic, and a gorgeous blonde. Turns out that the facility is experimenting in all sorts of unpleasant sciences, and it's up to the rapidly-dwindling group of soldiers to figure out what the hell is going on, and how the hell to get back to the surface.
    So basically it's the Aliens soldiers in a dreary series of hallways who eventually run into some test subjects who possess some decidedly Scanners-like capabilities. Clearly originality is not one of Crawlspace's strong suits, although director Justin Dix does have a fine cinematographer in Simon Ozolins, and his leading lady (Amber Clayton) is both beautiful and rather a fascinating character as the film goes on. There are also some fine special effects and a few sequences of legitimate shock and/or tension, but none of these components can salvage a story that starts out drab, gets slightly more compelling, and then devolves into frequent bouts of clumsy exposition. The final reveals of Crawlspace feel like they started out as a clever enough Twilight Zone-style mind-bender, and some of those cool ideas remain, but they're couched in a rote and generally uninteresting narrative that, frankly, feels like it was cobbled together from five other movies.
    Kudos to the filmmakers for trying to produce something a bit more cerebral than just "monsters in tunnels and soldiers with guns," but unfortunately Crawlspace is saddled with borrowed plot threads, generic characters, and a tiresome devotion to heated arguments in dimly-lit hallways. Once it gets rolling, there's some cool stuff to be found here, but overall Crawlspace is a pretty forgettable affair.

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    If you find your rituals worshipping Gozer the Gozarian aren't working, maybe you need a change of locale - like this Central Park duplex that was used in filming Ghostbusters. The 12 room duplex includes four bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, "double height tower room, and a glass-enclosed garden room ‘pavilion’ facing the expansive east-side terrace." Don't let that fancy-shmancy talk scare you - let the $35 million price tag scare you.

    The building as seen in Ghostbusters:

    The building as seen on a disturbingly normal, sunshiney day:


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    Elizabeth Massie is a Bram Stoker Award-winning writer of short stories and novels, and she is also a humanitarian who has come up with some creative ways to give back. Elizabeth was gracious enough to take time out of her schedule to answer a few questions about the short story, "Abed," and her Hand to Hand Vision Fundraising work.


    "Abed" has been called "one of the most disturbing horror stories ever written." What inspired you to write the story?
    Necon is a fantastic horror convention in Rhode Island, a convention I attend as regularly as possible. One year, back in the early 1990s, John Skipp and Craig Spector were in attendance. Skipp had read some of my other works and invited me to submit a story to the second of the Book of the Dead (zombie) anthologies, Book of the Dead 2: Still Dead. He basically said, "Send us something that will blow our minds."

    Having never written a zombie story before, I went home and rolled ideas around in my mind. I wanted it to blow their minds. But I also wanted to blow my own mind. I’m not one to write gore or graphic imagery for gore and graphic imagery’s sake. To me, there has to be a reason. There has to be some depth. There has to be emotion beyond just fear. And so I considered what would disturb me most. What would terrify me most. To me, isolation, alienation, unchecked power, and desperation are the springboards for the world’s worst horrors. And "Abed" was born.

    "Abed" was recently adapted for film. How did that all take place, and what was the process like for you?
    I heard from friend and producer Phil Nutman that Ryan Lieske was interested in creating a film version of "Abed." Several have expressed interest before but it never happened … with one big reason being the extreme graphic nature of the content. I was willing to agree to a film being made as long as I got to have script approval. I didn’t want a bloodbath film. I didn’t want a porn film (though I know the content skates really close to the edge there). "Abed," as horrific as it is, is a quietly and claustrophobic-ly desperate story. I didn’t want blaring music and screams and cats being tossed into frame with screeching yowls. I wanted the heart of the story to be ever-present … a story of love banged up and bruised and twisted into something almost unrecognizable, but still there, still clinging to life by a thread. Ryan’s script hit those marks very well.
    As to the filming, I live in Virginia and it was filmed in Michigan. However, I did go to the premiere party in Grand Rapids and the energy and reception was incredible. The actors, the music, the special effects, the props, the filming locations – it all came together just right. And the audience clearly "got it."

    Are there any plans in the works for future adaptations?
    No plans, but I’m always open to discuss movie options!

    You also started a charity program called Hand to Hand Vision Fundraising. Can you talk a bit about that?
    I believe we, as humans, are here on Earth to help care for each other. I believe it’s the biggest lesson we are supposed to learn. It’s heart-breaking that some are suffering so much while others are detached and can’t even see the need. Back in January 2011 I starting thinking of ways I could help others who, during this difficult economic time, could use a hand. Though things are often tight here, too, I want to do something.
    I like to knit in the evenings when my brain is too tired to write. I don’t do anything fancy, just warm, colorful, often very long scarves. So I started thinking … if I knitted warm, colorful scarves and offered them for sale, I could use that money to help someone who needs it. It would be a bit different from donating to Habitat for Humanity, or Food Banks, or other charitable organizations, though I heartily commend them for all the wonderful things they do for others. My idea would be different in that instead of providing items to others, I will provide some cash. There are a lot of people who could use some extra cash for a tank of gas, a birthday present for their child, an extra bag of groceries, or money toward a heating bill. These people could be the hard-working waitress at a little restaurant, a motel maid, a guy who carries groceries to the car (if his store allows tips), or just someone whose need becomes apparent. I would like to be able to pass cash on to that person, no strings attached, keeping it low-key, matter-of-fact.

    A first scarf was completed and sold to a top bidder on January 15th. The money – $140 – was given as what we now call a "hand off" to a man who works at a local dump and collects cans to supplement his minimum wage income.
    Since then, I’ve made and auctioned more scarves, and others have donated quality handmade items of all kinds that have likewise been auctioned. So far, Hand to Hand Vision has given money to 38 people, an amount totaling over $4,000. To find out more, or to take part or get updates on auctions or "hand offs," visit the Hand to Hand Vision Facebook page.


    Nancy O. Greene started writing at the age of nine. Her short story collection, Portraits in the Dark, received a brief mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007. Other works have appeared or will appear in ChiZine; Lovecraft eZine; Cemetery Dance; Tales of Blood and Roses; Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror; Shroud Publishing's The Terror at Miskatonic Falls; Dark Recesses; Flames Rising; Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore!; and others. She has a BA in Cinema (Critical Studies) and a minor in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Southern California, and is a Film Independent: Project Involve Fellow.

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    My first exposure to id Software’s classic DOOM was December of 1993.  My friend and I were exchanging gifts, and I tore the wrapping off of my present in the moments before French class began to reveal the cardboard box that housed the DOOM shareware, its painted façade of a bloodied marine fighting off hordes of demons containing the ominous rattling of a single 3.5” floppy disk.  I practically sprinted off of the bus to install it on the family PC, and was immediately transported to a brutal, violent dimension where I was baptized in blood and bullets as I fought off the ravenous legions of Hell itself.


    Fast forward to 2005, and DOOM was reinvented once again (not counting the safe sequel DOOM II), promising bleeding-edge technology to match with its first-person firefights.  It was proudly displayed on store shelves next to the high-end graphics cards that you needed to install in your PC to get the true experience, another example of the mid-2000’s cultural phenomenon of PC tweaking and games that demanded hardware upgrades to experience them to their fullest.  DOOM 3 used their technology to fantastic effect, using processing buzzwords like normal mapping and stencil shadows to make its take on Mars and Hell even more immersive and horrific than its predecessors.  Its lighting in particular made the horror slant even more effective, masking its environments in choking black shadows that obscured enough to induce paranoia and fear, punctuated by the brilliant flare of a muzzle flash or an imp’s arcing plasma ball.

    Now, one year prior to the 20th anniversary of the first DOOM, id Software and their new owners at Bethesda Software have re-released DOOM 3 with some minor nips, tucks, and additions called the BFG Edition (named after the series’ iconic Big Fucking Gun), giving Xbox 360 and PS3 owners a new opportunity to check out the 2005 classic. 

    When I say minor nips and tucks were made to DOOM 3, I wasn’t kidding.  Aside from widescreen support and some minimal improvements to the lighting engine, this is the same DOOM 3 from 7 years ago, and it shows.  Some of the game’s texture’s still hold up to today’s standards—especially the interactive displays that offer some unique respite from the game’s action—but other areas are murky clouds of chunky pixels that are uglier than a mud fence.  That, coupled with some very low-poly models that add sharp angles to human characters’ heads, remind you that this was a game released in 2005.

    The sound design, however, holds up remarkably well.  There’s full 5.1 surround support, and using a proper surround sound system or a good quality headset prove to make the game just as intense as its contemporaries.  The ever-present industrial thrum of the facilities on Mars make the games quieter moments seem almost pregnant with horrific possibility, and the shrieks of the game’s enemies surrounding you is positively nerve shattering.  Despite the graphical roughness, the sound design is so spot-on that playing this game in a dark room with a headset is just as visceral as a triple-A horror title released today.

    Finally, there’s the matter of additional content.  The game includes the original DOOM 3, the Resurrection of Evil add-on pack (from the days of long ago, before they called such things ”DLC”), as well as a set of new levels that comprise The Lost Mission.  This additional mission is a short, but intense pack of levels that lack the surprisingly rich story of the main title, but pack in plenty of vicious firefights and harrowing moments.  Finally, there’s the additional inclusion of DOOM and DOOM II, making this the most complete package available for diehard fans.

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    American Horror Story: Asylum Episode 203
    Written By: Jennifer Salt
    Directed By: Michael Uppendahl
    Original Airdate: 31 October 2012

    In This Episode...

    A storm is coming. Arden and Thredson hunker down in the asylum, and Sister Jude sets up movie night for the first time ever. (The movie? Signs of the Cross.) So this is the backdrop for tonight’s lunacy.

    First off, Sister Jude is a mess. Someone left a newspaper in with the mail that featured an article on the little girl she killed in 1949. Then Sister Mary Eunice comes in wearing lipstick that Dr. Arden said to give her: Reckless Red. Then she gets a phone call from the girl she killed, and discovers her broken eyeglasses on the table. This drives Sister Jude to drink all the communion wine - something she swore off.

    Next up, Sister Mary Eunice, now possessed by whatever demon that was supposed to be exorcised last week. She comes on to Arden in a vile way. She becomes furious, calls her a whore, throws her out of his office, yadda yadda yadda. One of the inmates, known only as the Mexican (their words, not mine) sees the devil in Sister Mary Eunice’s eyes. The Sister visits her in her room, prays with her, and kills her with a pair of scissors and feeds her to the creatures in the woods.

    Then, the escapees. Or would-be escapees. Grace and Kit decide that movie night would be the perfect time to run. Shelly wants in; Grace agrees. Lana kind of wants in, but not if Kit is in on it.  She speaks confidentially to Thredson and begs him to get a message to Wendy. He visits the home and discovers the doors and windows open, no one home, and fresh blood. This matches the M.O. of Bloody Face, and Thredson tells this to the police, who have no interest in reopening a heinous case that they believe has been solved. He confides in Lana, and she decides to believe him and apologizes to Kit. Kit takes it in stride, and they allow her to join their jail birds team.

    During the movie, Lana, Grace, Kit, and Shelly sneak out and head to the hidden tunnel entrance. On the way, they discover Carl, one of the orderlies, searching for the Mexican. Shelly sacrifices herself with what she is best at, and comes on to Carl. He cannot resist, and she lures him into a room, allowing Lana, Kit, and Grace to sneak by. They promise to try to wait for her, but Shelly knows better, and asks Lana to write a really kick-ass (my words) expose to shut Briarcliff for good. 

    Halfway through blowing Carl, Shelly is disgusted and leaves him with his dick in his hands (literally.) She races for the tunnel, but is caught by Arden and dragged into his office. Filled with lust and self-loathing, he throws Shelly over a desk and rapes her - or he tries. In her attempts to free herself, she catches sight of his penis and starts laughing hysterically. “Were you in an accident?” Arden knocks her out cold. When Shelly wakes in the morning, she is strapped down to Arden’s table. He has amputated both legs at the knees, and has loads more experiments planned.

    The trio who did make it out are not faring much better. The delight in the freedom that cool night air and pouring rain provides, then make a bee-line for the road. On the way, Grace stumbles on something. “I think we found the Mexican.” A few more steps and they run into the woodland creatures Sister Mary Eunice has been feeding: horrible, cannibalistic mutants, obviously the remnants of Arden’s horrible experiments. They run, screaming, trying to get to the road, but another mutant pops out and gives chase. The trio have no other option but to return to the tunnel, and therefore return to the asylum.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    Last week’s exorcism episode would have been more appropriate to air on Halloween night. This episode was surprisingly low-key, especially compared to season one’s epic two-part Halloween blowout. That said, this episode - with the Bloody Face (see below) and the forest mutants - really hit home the “horror” in American Horror Story. Very Wrong Turn, very Texas Chainsaw, and very unlike any television show on the air. I believe that this obvious ode to gruesome horror flicks may hurt its Emmy chances, but who needs Emmys when you have cannibal mutant hill people?

    Bloody Face

    We open with another nearly-pointless look at Briarcliff now. Teresa tries to hide from Bloody Face. Bloody Face stabs Leo, then goes for her. Leo is not really dead; he jumps up and stabs Bloody Face right back. The newlyweds run, Teresa calling 911, when suddenly Bloody Face appears again. They turn to run the other direction - there is a Bloody Face there, too. Bloody Face #2 shoots them both dead, then removes his mask. Both the Bloody Faces are teens wearing masks. One is shaken by the shooting; the other is excited by the thrill. Both shit themselves when another (presumably the “real”) Bloody Face appears.


    Suspicions stir up that Arden may be a war criminal, and Briarcliff gets a new patient.

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    Whew! So we made it through our epic 'Trick 'r Treat'  marathon yesterday and we trust all you fiends out there had a spookfilled Halloween! And after spending 24 hours with Sam, we're sure that you're curious about what happens to our little friend once Halloween is all over? Well, writer/director Michael Dougherty answers that question for you in this final 'Trick 'r Treat' inspired short film titled "The Day After". Check it out below! And while the rest of the world will rest up and retire from their creepy routine until next year, we here at FEARnet will continue celebrating all year round. And we hope the rest of you will too!



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    Inked in blood and made from the flesh of the human dead, the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis is the most conniving, sadistic, and hilarious book in demonic history. Honestly, I’ve never seen a book with a better sense of humor. Written by the Dark Ones, the Book of the Dead has the power to control an army of Deadites, bent on ruling the world.

    Check out the first images of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis from Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead remake below. There are a few differences between this book and the original Raimi creation.

    Evil Dead’s Facebook page offers this warning to all who look upon the book: "Don't Say It. Don't Write It. Don't Hear It. Don't Share It."

    But if you do, try speaking this incantation: "Klaatu verata nikto." Just make sure you don’t mispronounce it.

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    Zombie stories tend to be large scale stories - after all, when the dead rise, it's the end of the world as we know it. Even when books or stories are focused on a small group of survivors, there's nothing narrow about the apocalypse, and that's usually reflected in the tale being told.

    So I must admit I felt a little trepidation when I heard about Appalachian Undead, the new anthology from Editor Eugene Johnson and Apex Publications. Here's an anthology dealing with a relatively small (if thriving) subgenre, set in relatively small (if notorious) region of the United States. Sure, it sounded like a great idea for a short story, but a whole book of them? I could see it being a little too niche, a great title backed with a group of stories that would eventually blend into an indistinguishable mess.

    Boy, was I wrong. What Johnson has turned in is a fresh and varied approach to the living dead, brought to life by a great crop of writers who were obviously energized by the idea of taking the ultimate survival scenario and staging it in a place where survival has always been a hard won achievement for anyone brave enough to live there.

    Johnson has defied redundancy by carefully selecting stories that vary in their approaches to both the zombies and the Appalachian setting. You'll find some zombies built in the Romero model of slow and instinctual, while others have retained a spark of intelligence, cunning and even identity. Some of the writers use the Appalachians merely as a backdrop, while other infuse their stories and characters with the superstitions, traditions and rawbone toughness that's often attributed to the Appalachian people.

    It's those stories that fully embrace the Appalachians as a region and as a people that are the most successful: Elizabeth Massie's When Granny Comes Marchin' Home Again, for example, in which the zombie apocalypse begins not in a secret government laboratory, but in an old women's kitchen with a strange combination of moonshine and magic; or Calling Death by Jonathan Maberry, who takes the mining tragedies that are so tightly woven into the region's history and elevates them to hellish new levels; or Sitting Up With the Dead by Bev Vincent, which gives a deadly new spin to an old tradition.

    There's also Brother Hollis Gives His Final Sermon From a Rickety Make-Shift Pulpit in the Remains of a Smokehouse That Now Serves as His Church, a first-person narrative by Gary A. Braunbeck in which a pastor, his faith shaken by the rise of the living dead, finds a new way to believe - and to sacrifice. Spoiled by Paul Moore is another standout (and not just because it's one of the gorier stories in the book); in it, two women (one of which is pregnant and mute) hole up in a mountain cabin that comes under siege from the living and the dead.

    The fact is, it's difficult to pinpoint a weakness anywhere in the anthology. Johnson has built the book with a mix of established names and newer talent, and the finished package does not come close to wearing out the welcome of its central idea - it does, in fact, leave the reader wanting even more. Appalachian Undead is an absolute blast to read, and should serve as the perfect antidote for those dreading the end of the Halloween season.

    Order Appalachian Undead from Apex Publications.

    Blu Gilliand is a freelance writer of fiction and nonfiction. He covers horror fiction at his blog, October Country and contributes interviews to the Horror World website. Follow him on Twitter at @BluGilliand.

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    Drew Daywalt’s latest short is a clever take on a creature feature.

    Written and directed by Daywalt and starring AJ Bowen and Ed Ackerman, Meat follows two hunters who hit an unknown creature and are forced to put it out of its misery. But like any hunter worth their weight in venison, they don’t want to waste a good piece of fresh meat. Even if it is a very magical piece of meat.

    Watch Lisa Frank’s worst nightmare come to life.

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    No, it's not a serial killer's bucket list.

    The annual Blood List represents the best dark genre screenplays in Hollywood that have yet to be made. It’s a great way to support community and get word out about all the original films that should be on Hollywood’s radar.

    Here’s how it works straight from the source:

    The Blood List was created in 2009 to bring attention to darker, genre unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. A calendar year for a script to be considered for the list is from October 31st to October 31st. Voting is done by 100 industry insiders. The list is known as the 'Top horror screenplays list' but also has scripts in the sci fi, fantasy, thriller, and dark comedy space as well.

    Genres included on the list are: Horror, thriller, sci-fi, dark drama, and dark comedies. This year 117 feature executives voted. Each executive chose their top 3 favorite dark genre scripts of the year.

    There were 99 different scripts voted for, and this year a script had to receive 5 votes or more to make the list.

    Without further ado, here are the most promising, yet-to-be-made genre movies. Personally, my vote is cast for February. What about yours?

    25 Votes
    THE DISCIPLE PROGRAM by Tyler Marceca
    Logline: A man begins an investigation into his wife's mysterious death, only to find that it goes much deeper than he imagined.
    Genre: Thriller
    Agent(s): Rich Cook & Phil d'Amecourt (WME)
    Manager(s): Bard Dorros & Michael Sugar (Anonymous Content)
    Status: Mark Wahlberg attached and Morten Tyldum attached to direct for Universal.

    19 Votes
    STEPHANIE by Ben Collins & Luke Piotrowski
    Logline: A young girl has strange powers that doom her to a world of solitude. PAPERHOUSE meets CARRIE.
    Genre: Horror, thriller, psychological, drama
    Agent(s): Emerson Davis (UTA)
    Manager(s): Nate Matteson (The Gotham Group)
    Status: The Gotham Group, Bryan Bertino & Adrienne Biddle (Unbroken Pictures) producing. Jonathan Van Tulleken (Off Season) directing.

    17 Votes
    LOCKDOWN AT FRANKLIN HIGH by Joe Ballarini and Gregg Bishop Logline: A straight-laced teenage girl tries to save her socially outcast, rebellious brother during a high school lockdown due to a terrifying alien attack.
    Agent(s): David Boxerbaum, Ida Ziniti, & Tanya Cohen (Paradigm) rep Ballarini
    Manager(s): George Heller (Apostle) reps Ballarini & Andy Cohen (Grade A Entertainment) Cindy Cowan (Cindy Cowan Entertainment) reps Bishop
    Status: Set up at Sony with Benderspink and Platinum Dunes producing.

    16 Votes
    STORY OF YOUR LIFE by Eric Heisserer
    Logline: When alien crafts land across the world, a linguist expert is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat. As she learns to communicate with the aliens, she begins experiencing vivid flashbacks that become the key to unlocking the greater mystery about the true purpose of their visit.
    Genre: Sci-fi drama
    Agent(s): Barbara Dreyfus & Jon Huddle (UTA)
    Manager(s): Julie Bloom (Art/Work Entertainment)
    Status: Set up at 21 Laps.

    13 Votes
    FEBRUARY by Osgood Perkins
    Logline: An unidentified young woman makes a pilgrimage to the site of a demonic possession at an all-girls boarding school in the dead of winter.
    Genre: Horror
    Manager(s): Scott Halle (Gramercy Park Entertainment)
    Status: Bryan Bertino and Adrienne Biddle (Unbroken Pictures) producing.

    13 Votes
    COUNTRY OF STRANGERS by Sean Armstrong
    Logline: Based on true events, the story follows an Inspector during his forty year search for three siblings taken from an Australian Beach in 1966.
    Genre: Thriller
    Agent(s): Bill Weinstein & Rob Herting (Verve)
    Manager(s): Peter Dealbert & Susan Solomon

    11 Votes
    INTERSTATE 5 by Seth M. Sherwood
    Logline: The son of an infamous serial killer and the daughter of one of the victims go on the road in hopes of tracking the killer down only to find themselves haunted by demonic forces intent on driving them mad. JACOBS LADDER meets NATURAL BORN KILLERS
    Genre: Psychological thriller
    Manager(s): Kailey Marsh (Station 3)
    Status: Available.

    9 Votes
    SOMNIA by Mike Flanagan & Jeff Howard Logline: A couple who recently lost their son take in a young boy as a foster child. They soon discover that the boy's dreams manifest themselves in the real world when he sleeps.
    Genre: Horror
    Agent(s): Sheryl Petersen, Debbie Deuble & Chris Ridenhour (APA)
    Manager(s): Nicholas Bogner (Affirmative Entertainment)
    Status: In negotiations.

    8 Votes
    DARKFALL by TS FaullM
    Logline: A group of residents must survive the night in their apartment complex as they slowly learn that DARKFALL (the rising of demons to take over the Earth) is upon them.
    Genre: Supernatural thriller
    Agent(s): N/A
    Manager(s): Michael Botti (Industry Entertainment)
    Status: Available.

    VIRAL by Dustin T. Benson
    Logline: Told from the 1st person point of view via the helmet camera of a bio-safety suit a female scientist searches for her missing daughter in a quarantined area of Manhattan. I AM LEGEND meets OUTBREAK.
    Genre: Thriller w/ Action & Sci-fi elements.
    Agent(s): Ramses IsHak & Mike Sheresky (UTA)
    Manager(s): Brooklyn Weaver (Energy Entertainment)
    Status: Adrian Askarieh (Prime Universe) & Brooklyn Weaver (Energy Entertainment) attached to produce.

    7 Votes
    Logline: The mute servant of a modern-day vampire returns home to her estranged family twenty years after her disappearance. As she grows closer to her family, her loyalties to her master are finally tested.
    Genre: Vampire Horror
    Agent(s): N/A
    Manager(s): Jarrod Murray & Allard Cantor (Epicenter)
    Status: Available.

    6 Votes
    SHUT IN by T.J. Cimfel & David White
    Logline: An agoraphobic woman must fend off a home invasion while she protects a dark secret.
    Genre: Thriller/Horror
    Manager(s): Marc Manus (Manus Entertainment)
    Status: Available.

    5 Votes
    PESTE by Babarba Marshall
    Logline: A 16 year old girl begins to record her life for her high school media class just as a terrifying virus begins to spread.
    Genre: Sci-Fi Horror
    Agent(s): Debbie Deuble & Lee Dinstman (APA)
    Manager(s): Ava Jamshidi (Industry Entertainment)
    Status: Set up at IM Global w/Sherryl Clark producing.

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  • 11/01/12--15:00: Game Review: 'Dishonored'
  • We talk a lot about “open world” gaming nowadays, with games like Prototype and Dead Rising allowing players to explore worlds with an unprecedented level of freedom, at least in regards to where you go in the environment.  Once you’re assigned a mission, gameplay becomes fairly set in stone, tugging you along a predetermined path with only one way through.  There have been a few games that have allowed for a greater sense of freedom in how you completed missions, including Deus Ex and the criminally overlooked Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, which let you dictate just how you approached a mission, what objectives to complete, and sometimes even who you killed to reach your goal.

    Dishonored takes this open-mission structure to dizzying new heights, casting players as Corvo Attano, a bodyguard turned supernatural assassin after he was framed for the murder of the Empress that he was charged to protect, running a series of missions for an underground resistance in a fascinating, retro-dystopian world.

    Dishonored sets itself apart from countless other games for several reasons, one being its unique “whale punk” theme, which cribs from Jules Vernian steampunk but powers its retro tech with tanks full of whale oil, which gives the game world a unique naval feel, enhanced by a distinctive graphical style that deftly walks the line between realistic and stylized.  The other main difference comes from the aforementioned paths that you can choose on the game’s many assassination missions.  Despite the fact that you are an assassin (which, last time I checked, meant you were a killer), you can go through the game without spilling a single drop of blood.  Sneaking up behind enemies can initiate either a silent chokehold or a vicious stab to the throat, and each maneuver has their consequences.  There are several supernatural abilities that you can upgrade over the course of the game that makes either path easier, be it a sort of sonar that lets you see patrolling enemies through walls, or summon mobs of rats to tear apart your foes.

    These consequences tie into the zombie-like contagion that is sweeping across the city of Dunwall, delivered Black Plague-style on the rats that fill the sewers and gutters.  The more people you kill, the more bodies for the rats to feast upon, the more rats there are, and the further the plague spreads, resulting in a higher number of Weepers for the player to deal with.  Weepers are plague carriers in the final stages of the disease, and their feral nature and bloody tears form a rather disturbing image.  If you leave more people alive, the overall game tends to be less dark and brutal, even if it’s difficult in a totally different fashion.

    If there’s one complaint about Dishonored, it’s that it’s a game that leaves you wanting more, story wise.  There’s an incredible amount of depth hinted at in this world, from the supernatural mythology surrounding the Outsider who gives you your powers to the sociopolitical climate that seems to taunt you at the edges of the game’s plot.  The game just seems to end without any real wrap-up, which is disappointing when there’s such rich potential in this unique world.

    This mild story gaffe doesn’t detract from the final product too severely, and if anything serves as further proof as to just how involving Dishonored is.  It makes me hope for another round in the stealthy boots of the skull-masked Corvo in his world of Victorian violence.

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    Castle Wolfenstein first hit computers in 1981. It was one of the first stealth-based action-adventure shooters to hit the market, and its sequel, Wolfenstein 3D was one of the very first 3D video games. It has taken over 30 years, but Castle Wolfenstein is finally getting its big break on the silver screen.

    Through many different incarnations from several different software publishers, Wolfenstein always has the same basic premise: defeat the Nazis and their monstrous, often supernatural creations. Roger Avary will write and direct the film. He has a long list of violent and off-kilter credits that includes Pulp Fiction and pretty much every movie based on a Brett Easton Ellis novel (except American Psycho.) Producer Samuel Hadida promises "a wild and fun cinematic ride that will grab contemporary film audiences with the same irreverent, hip, over-the-top approach that Roger brought to Pulp Fiction." (Someone please tell Mr. Hadida that no one uses the term "hip.")

    The plot will "center on a young U.S. Army captain and a British special agent on a top-secret mission to Castle Wolfenstein, where Hitler will be for the unveiling of a new secret weapon. After reaching the Castle, the heroes are confronted with Himmler's SS Paranormal Division and must fight, not only for their survival, but for a mission that could alter the course of the war."

    Source: Hollywood Reporter

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    Hollywood has gone Hitchcock-crazy. Universal just released a massive remastered collection of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films (look for our full review of the set next week.) A few weeks ago, HBO premiered their Hitchcock biopic, The Girl. Fox's own biopic, Hitchcock, will have it's world premiere at the AFI Film Fest this weekend ahead of its November 23rd theatrical release. To promote the film, Fox is encouraging you to "Share Your Scream." But first, a little inspiration with a clip of Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock in the famous Psycho shower scene.

    Fox invites you to put yourself in one of three posters for Hitchcock. Here, look at mine:

    To put yourself in a Hitchcock poster, head over to

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    The Vampire Diaries Episode 404
    “The Five”
    Written By: Brett Matthews & Rebecca Sonnenshine
    Directed By: Joshua Butler
    Original Airdate: 1 November 2012

    In This Episode...

    Elena and Damon tag along with Bonnie on a college road trip. Bonnie is going to meet with the professor who took over Grams’s classes, while Damon teaches Elena to hunt. Stefan is jealous that Damon is taking Elena to hunt, but he understands why it is best - to take away his temptation to go ripper. Damon picks out a blonde girl for her, and Elena catches up with her after class. She compels the girl, but as she is about to bite into her wrist, Elena sees a photo on the girl’s phone of her and her baby sister. She can’t do it. Luckily there is a frat party that night, so finding a douchebag to feed off of shouldn’t be hard. And bonus: it’s a Halloween party. Elena almost immediately finds the boy she wants to eat, an asshat who she sees slipping a girl a Roofie. She lures him away easily and drinks deeply. Damon supervises, and begins to worry that she is drinking too much. She stops herself, and proudly hugs Damon. But she wants more. Back on the dance floor, the two split up and drink from anyone unlucky enough to dance with them. Elena and Damon then come together, both with bloody mouths, and dance together seductively, on a blood high. Elena catches sight of Bonnie and immediately feels guilty for enjoying herself. They leave the party.

    The real story is back in Mystic Falls. Stefan and Klaus begrudgingly team up to deal with the whole Connor situation. Stefan needs to know what Klaus knows about this dangerous new hunter; Rebekah has information that Klaus needs, but she is not on speaking terms with him.

    So this is the deal with the hunters. About 900 years ago, in Italy, there was a small group of hunters known as the Brotherhood of the Five. They had this obsessive need to eradicate the vampire race - it was almost a genetic imperative. Back then, their tattoos were visible; it is not explained why they no longer are. What is explained is that the tattoos are only visible to those who have a destiny to be a great hunter. They show up on their own, and with each vampire they kill, another portion of the tattoo is added (hopefully this will mean lots more bloodshed.) Rebekah was madly in love with Alexander, one of the Five - they even planned to marry. He would only tell her that the tattoos were some kind of map, and the treasure at the end can put an end to the vampire race. In order to read the map, you must have a special sword that acts as a decoder. Alexander has caught on to Rebekah, and stakes her with a dagger dipped in ash. He does this to all the originals. Klaus and Rebekah remain “alive” (not sure what was going on with that) but the important part is that Klaus dismembers Alexander as payback. When Alexander dies, his tattoos disappear. Since then, Klaus had not heard a single word of the Five, or seen a single tattoo - until Connor.

    Klaus has Jeremy draw the tattoo, since he is still the only one who can see it. Rebekah, hurt by Klaus’s constant abuse, confides in Stefan the sword’s whereabouts: she buried it with Alexander in the Italian church they were to be married at. This was Klaus’s plan all along. Now that he has the location, he has no need for Rebekah, and stabs her with a dagger dipped in ash. 

    And what exactly is this treasure that is so vital it must be spoken of in hushed tones, and only when absolutely necessary? Allegedly, it is a cure for vampirism.

    Also: Connor breaks free of his shackles (he bites off his guard’s ear, then uses the stud from an industrial piercing to pick the locks) and beheads his vampire guard (by wrapping aforementioned chains around the guard’s neck and tightening until his head literally pops off.) A new segment of tattoo appears. Connor then goes to see Professor Shane - the one who took over from Grams and has just befriended Bonnie - to ask why he sent Connor to Mystic Falls to kill vampires. Oooh, intrigue.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    Oooh, I liked it. Finally moving away from the sappy horseshit that dominated the first few episodes of the season. Now back to murder, intrigue, and backstabbing. However, the show has become so predictable this season. Previously, I feel like there have been enough twists and turns to keep me guessing at least some of the time. But as soon as Klaus tells Stefan that what they are looking for could be the “answer to his prayers,” it is painfully obvious that this is a mythical vampire cure. I did not see that the professor was in cahoots with Connor. I assumed that he was a potential love interest, perhaps with an ulterior motive - but I didn’t see that ulterior motive.

    Vampire Training Camp

    Damon tells Elena which types of people are best to feed off of, and which to avoid. Stoners are bad because you don’t need the extra buzz. Nerdy girls are bad because they are always suspicious of people who are nice to them. Damon suggests the pretty, popular girls. They are easily susceptible and too self-absorbed to question flattery.


    Connor turns lunch into a hostage situation when he holds Jeremy, April, and Matt at Mystic Grill. Naturally, things turn violent.

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    Now that Halloween is over, the Christmas push can begin. So let's start off with a new limited edition T-shirt for Black Christmas. The good folks at Fright Rags are kicking off your holiday shopping early. As always, the shirt will be a limited edition and only available for purchase for a small window of time. This time, the fun starts on November 9th. Be sure to check out Fright Rags for all the purchasing details.

    $25.95 for T-shirts; $45.95 for sweatshirts at

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    Apparently, polar bears spend Halloween "playing" with Frankenstein's monster:

    This is Tatqiq, an 11-year-old female polar bear who resides at the San Diego Zoo. In lieu of fun size candy bars, Tatqiq got a Frankenstein's monster toy. 

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled gore.


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    Miss out on Toronto After Dark? We can't help you with the boozing or the socializing, but we can help you with the winners. 

    Cockneys vs. Zombies won top prize with best feature. Fans also voted it Best Comedy, Best Ensemble, and Most Like to See a Sequel. American Mary picked up Best Canadian Feature, Director, Cinematography, Lead Actress, Antihero, and Most Disturbing. Citadel also was a fan favorite, taking home Best Horror, Scariest, and Most Thrilling. Other big winners included Dead Sushi, [REC] 3: Genesis, Inbred, Resolution and Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (that's what the website says!)

    For a complete list of winners, head over to

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    Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate looks to be a bridge for the franchise in more ways than one.  It bridges the stories of Lords of Shadow and Lords of Shadow 2, and it also looks to bridge the old-school platforming of the franchise with the more 3D-centric combat of Lords of Shadow.

    The latest trailer for the title from G4 shows off the game and reveals some exciting new features to boot.  One, is that Alucard I spy?  Two, the platforming puzzles look to bring elements back from the 16-bit glory days of Super Castlevania.  Three, the game promises 20 hours of gameplay (jeepers!).  That’s a lot to get excited about.  The best, however, comes after the title smash, and that’s the Symphony of the Night fan service that’s delivered with just one little line.

    Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate will be released in 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS.




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    Just about two months ago, I examined how DC Comics could explore their more supernatural mythos for their upcoming DC movie universe, bringing characters like Swamp Thing and Deadman to the silver screen.  Now, it seems the busiest man in show business, Guillermo del Toro, wants to take all of DC’s magical/supernatural characters and combine them into a massive team-up film.

    del Toro’s been attached to Deadman for years (I even suggested he would be the best man for the job), but according to Latino Review, Deadman is just one of the characters that would be in a rumored team that would consist of characters like The Spectre, Swamp Thing, John Constantine, The Phantom Stranger, the Demon Etrigan, and several others.

    Seeing as how I mentioned those six characters in my article, I’m feeling a little creeped out at the moment.  Either I should be getting some sort of consultant fee, or I have developed the ability to see the future.  If it’s the latter, I will be taking my leave of FEARnet and going to play the ponies.

    Regardless of my newfound psychic abilities, there is a huge amount of potential in a huge supernatural team film for DC and Warner Bros., and I eagerly await whatever del Toro has up his sleeves for DC’s unique occult universe. 

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