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FEARNET.com News and Reviews

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    Helltown is one of the most legendary areas of Ohio. Hundreds of legends surround the abandoned town, from ghosts to Satanic cults to chemical spills to mutants and more. It wasn't always called Helltown and that is not its official name. The area is officially known as Boston Mills in Summit County. Settled in 1806, it is the oldest village in Summit County. In 1974, President Ford signed a legislation that allowed the National Parks Service to claim eminent domain over Boston Mills and take possession of the land. The idea was that they would raze the town and turn the area into a national park. Residents had to leave immediately, leading to graffiti that read "Now we know how the Indians felt." However, the government being the government, they didn't really get around to knocking down all the structures, so many streets would contain rows and rows of abandoned homes with "No Tresspassing" signs, seated next to the burned-out remains of homes that had been used in fire department exercises.

    With what is essentially an abandoned town, it is natural for ghost stories and legends to grow. While none have been confirmed, they are still really fun, spooky tales to share.

    One common rumor involves an abandoned school bus in the woods. Stories maintain that the children in the bus were slaughtered by a serial killer, mental patient, or Satanic cult (depending on who you ask. In reality, the bus was used as a temporary shelter for a family whose house was undergoing renovations. It was not uncommon for vehicles and machinery that was no longer working to be left behind when residents left.

    Another rumor maintains that the area was the site of a toxic chemical spill. The National Park story was just a ruse to cover up the abandoned houses and rumors of mutants living in the woods, including a monstrous snake nicknamed "Peninsula Python."

    Other popular legends suggest that two of the churches in town are used as meeting places for Satanic cults, home to ghosts that leave candles burning all night, and a strange man (possibly the one who killed the bus load of children) lives in the basement; a ghostly figure appears on a bench at the cemetery at night, even though there is no bench in the cemetery; a man who will chase you away with a hearse if you get too close to his property (which may have been based on a real resident who brought out a hearse on Halloween); and a road that leads to the end of the world, is haunted, will terrorize you, or something to that effect.

    For more pictures and stories, visit GhostsofOhio.org and DeadOhio.com

     


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    New comic book Wednesday has come and gone. The dust at your local comic shop has settled. An eerie silence descends as you finish reading your last superhero book of the week. Now it's time for something a little more sinister. Welcome to Bagged and Boarded: comic reviews of the sick, spooky, twisted and terrifying!

    The Massive No. 19

    The world has crashed. Everything is beyond repair and most places live in chaos and anarchy. There are no monsters, no zombies, just a ruined world. Our heroes, Israel Callum and his crew, sail along in a ship called The Kapital looking for their lost sister ship, The Massive. Now they find themselves in post-crash Europe, getting pulled deeper into a world they tried to leave behind.

    Bag it or board it up? When the world falls apart… get a boat. I really love this series. It's a gritty, realistic kind of horror. More horrifying than horror, more monstrous than full of monsters, this is a serious, intelligent comic about the collapse of global society. If you're not reading this you should be! Check it out!

    The X-Files Conspiracy: Ghostbusters

    The lone gunmen, a group of three hoax hunters looking for proof of alien existence, set their sights on the Ghostbusters. They go to snoop around and look for proof that the 'busters are either fakes or working with aliens. Once they get there, however, they find out the hard way that the Ghostbusters deal with real, honest-to-Gozer ghosts. What happens after they find out is a fun romp and more of the 'busters doing what they do best.

    Bag it or board it up? IDW loves to jam its properties together into different series. They've done it before, they'll do it again. But this time around it feels like it all makes sense, sort of. I like the use of Lone Gunmen as traveling snoops, always getting themselves into trouble. But it's hard to buy the Ghostbusters as people, at this point in their storyline, who could be fakes. Hasn't the whole world accepted and celebrated their story at this point?

    Judge Dredd: Mega-City Two No. 1

    Judge Dredd is on assignment abroad. There's something going on in Mega-City Two, and its up to Dredd to find out who's involved. But Mega-City Two isn't like Mega-City One… at all. Where one is all chaos, gang warfare, bloody shootouts and daring chasing, Mega-City Two is like a giant Los Angeles. Full of celebrities and jam packed with traffic, Mega-City Two is a friendlier place where Dredd has to use rubber bullets. He is, clearly, not at home.

    Bag it or board it up? Yes! This issue rules. I've become a big fan of Judge Dredd lately, and IDW is doing great things with the big lug. This is another awesome issue, where Dredd is taken so far out of his comfort zone he might as well be in outer space. This is a fun read, and the artwork by Ulises Farinas is stunning, crammed full of stuff, and wonderfully intricate.

    Arcane Secrets No. 1

    Finally let's take a look at a little indie comic (by publisher Amigo and featured on the Comixology Submit program) called Arcane Secrets: The Curse of the Mottled Tentacle. This pulpy, kid-friendly detective story is full of monsters, weird villains, tentacles, and "the unknown zone." It's the story of a pair of arcane detectives who get set up and tricked by some nasty, tentacled mobsters.

    Bag it or board it up? While this comic isn't for everyone, it is, in my opinion, a boat-load of fun. Playing out like a modern day cartoon, our heroes bumble through their troubles. They joke with each other, they run into situations they can't handle, they haplessly succeed. This is great, cartoony stuff, and if you've got little critters of your own… they'll love it too!


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    Dracula Episode 110
    “Let There Be Light”
    Written By: Cole Haddon
    Directed By: Tim Fywell
    Original Airdate: 24 January 2014

    In This Episode…

    Mina stops by Jonathan’s house to return his cross. She wasn’t expecting him to be there, but he is, and he doesn’t want the necklace back. He is instead furious with Mina: “I warned you to stay away from him!” He wants her to swear that she doesn’t love Grayson, which she can’t do. All she will say is that she will be at the demonstration tonight.

    Jayne has what seems to be every huntsman in Europe. She also has a powerful Sicilian seer who comes bearing a gift from the Vatican: the blood of Christ. This will allow him to better see the vampires in town. When he locates a nest, teams of hunters will be dispatched in pairs or trios. They are to send up a flare for every vampire they kill.

    Grayson is preparing for tonight’s demonstration, which is slated to begin at 6pm. He has his what will end up being his final daylight injection from Van Helsing, and vague assurances from the doctor that Browning’s children have been been returned. Grayson is also mighty upset because he hasn’t seen Jonathan in two days. He shows up and gets an angry lecture until he mentions Davenport. Grayson “puts it all together” and he becomes confessor for Jonathan. Grayson assures him that he will take care of everything, right now Jonathan just has to do his job like normal. One of his duties is managing the press, so he returns with a couple of photographers who wish to document the resonator before the event. Grayson goes outside to speak to the tremendous crowd that has gathered in the streets. It is a carnival atmosphere, and he answers the questions of the press with his usual wit and charm. Inside, Jonathan’s photographers are not actually photographers - they are there to tamper with the machine. Kowalski nearly catches them, but he doesn’t see anything amiss so he merely sends them on their way. A safe distance away, the saboteur tells Jonathan that five minutes after the resonator is activated, it will blow up - a fact that alarms Jonathan and sends him racing to find Mina and keep her away from the demonstration.

    It is 4:30pm and Grayson is concerned that Van Helsing isn’t there yet, so he dispatches Renfield to find him. Van Helsing is busy destroying his lab, burning notes and crushing test tubes. When Renfield finds him, Van Helsing tries to play the “it was like this when I got here,” but soon realizes that is a waste. He stabs Renfield in the gut and informs him that Dracula will never again walk in the daylight.

    The huntsmen are having some success with the vampires, so Browning leaves to address a note he has gotten from his wife. She is at home, hysterical, with the ransom note - and one of her children’s fingers. Browning wastes no time gathering the requested ransom and heading to the dark, abandoned house. Van Helsing appears and grabs Browning, taking his gun and holding a knife to his throat. Browning hands over the money and begs for his kids. He lights a lantern and reveals himself to Browning. “Do you not recognize me? You slaughtered my family!” Browning, ever the asshole, responds: “That hardly narrows it down, does it?” Probably not the right thing to say to someone who is dangerously unhinged. Van Helsing pulls a lever which opens a trap door and drops Browning into a deep basement. He tosses the money after him and promises that his kids are there - they are just a little shy. Browning calls for his kids, who appear from the shadows timidly. The kids look at each other, frightened for a moment - then smile at one another and reveal their fangs. The attack daddy dearest, while Van Helsing watches from above, proudly announcing that he fed them Dracula’s blood so they can feed on him. He empties a can of gasoline on the feral children and their meal, then lights the entire house on fire and walks away.

    The seer finally finds Dracula: he is down by the docks, speaking to a large mass of people. Jayne finally accepts it: Grayson is Dracula. The seer slips her an ornate dagger from the Papal armory before he passes out.

    It is 6pm. Time for the demonstration to start. Jonathan races through the crowds, desperate to find Mina. Grayson searches too, from his place at the podium. he sees her and smiles, and launches into his speech. Jonathan starts calling for Mina, but his cries are muffled by the crowd chanting “Show us! Show us!” Jonathan finally finds Mina and tells her what is about to happen. Rather than fleeing with him, she is horrified by what he has done and breaks free of Jonathan. She races to Grayson to alert him of the sabotage. Grayson immediately sets about shutting down the machine, but part of the sabotage means it can’t be shut down. Mina pulls a fire alarm and Jonathan admits what he had a hand in. Despite his fury, Grayson demands Mina go with Jonathan while he tries to shut down the machine. Grayson is unsuccessful and an enormous fireball rips through the city streets.

    The city is damn near in ruins. Dozens are dead; hundreds are injured. Mina screams for Alexander, but Jonathan insists he is dead. “You are a murderer,” she proclaims before running from him. Jonathan sees his friend, the reporter, dead in the street.

    Jayne picks her way through the rubble and over dead and injured bodies. The resonator now sits in a pit of flames and twisted metal. She lowers herself in, looking for Grayson. He sneaks up behind her, and she taunts him by saying she knows who he is. “You’ve always known, admit it.” She pulls out a gun which makes Grayson (well, I guess I can call him Dracula now) laugh and knock it away. He is more impressed when she pulls out a pair of axes. The two fight, and Dracula gets the upper hand, pinning her to the wall. She stabs him with the Papal dagger, and he stumbles back, collapsing. Jayne comes at him with an axe to finish the job, but Dracula jumps up and throws her away. She is impaled on a beam of twisted metal. “I am immune to all your little toys,” he remarks. Jayne knows she is done for, but asks that he kills her, doesn’t change her - he owes her that. Ever a gentleman, Dracula kills her good.

    Mina has made it to Carfax, and is desperately searching for Grayson. He is not there, but she sees the painting of Ilona. Grayson comes up behind her and they embrace. “I was so afraid I lost you,” she murmurs. They kiss and end up in bed together, making sweet, sweet love.

    Morning comes and Van Helsing is in his office, checking the contents of a vampire hunting kit. Jonathan comes in, after getting a message from him. “I will teach you everything you need to know to destroy Grayson,” he vows. The first thing Jonathan needs to know: “His name is Dracula.

    Also: Lucy is a vampire now, and eats her mother.  No surprises there.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    That was a wonderfully satisfying finale. All of this season’s storylines were wrapped up, but the second season (should there be a second season) is well mapped out. There was some delicious violence (Browning’s children!) and delicious sex. And I have to say, the fight between Dracula and Jayne was really great. It was well choreographed and well filmed, both things that are hard to pull off. It just goes to show the director was on his game and the cast is very good at stage combat. This show has really come a long way from the first few dodgy episodes. I am so ready for a second season!


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    Grimm Episode 312
    “The Good Soldier”
    Written By: Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt
    Directed By: Rob Bailey
    Original Airdate: 24 January 2014

    In This Episode…

    A big, brutish guy is speeding down the street in a muscle car. Highway Patrol gives chase. The brute stops, pulls the cop from the car, and beats the hell out of him. “You weren’t worthy,” he grunts as he scalps the cop. The case gets kicked to Portland PD. This is the third such case of scalpings in the last few weeks. The other two were a naval captain and a border patrol cop. It looks like a serial killer with a penchant for killing men in uniform is headed to town.

    The brute is now in Portland proper. A green beret in full uniform gets off a bus and walks down an dark alley. The brute is waiting for him, but this time, the brute gets the snot beat out of him. The brute determines that the green beret is “worthy,” shifts to his wesen form (which looks strangely similar to werewolf Michael Jackson from the “Thriller” video) and kills the green beret.

    The car has been spotted, and Hank and Nick rush to the scene, a fleabag motel whose manager is seen flying out the front door. Other guests had been complaining about the strong odors coming from the brute’s room, so when he went to confront him, he got knocked around, then tossed outside and had his truck stolen. That odor? That was the brute, tanning his scalps and leaving a gruesome mess in the bathroom. Forensics later comes back with two dozen different DNA profiles. Nick is ready to think wesen. The brute has taken to the woods to finish tanning his scalps and sewing them into a magnificently disgusting cape. But there is something missing. The brute has a newspaper clipping with a photo of Nick at a crime scene, his image circled. Nick is what is missing. (Well, he does have a fine head of hair.)

    On the domestic front, Rosalee and Monroe get engaged. It’s actually kind of cute: he takes her to a super fancy dinner, where she clearly thinks he is going to pop the question - but he doesn’t. The whole way home, he talks about this one difficult clock he has been working on, and he really wants to show it to her. She is full and sleepy and clearly a little disappointed, but he insists. Sure enough, the cuckoo pops out, a ring in its beak, chirping, “Will you marry me?” She says yes, of course. But now she really wants to meet Monroe’s parents, Bart and Alice. Monroe is terrified at the idea of calling them. But he does, and they seem lovely. Alice is excited; Bart is a little more old-fashioned. They announce they are coming to visit, which sends Monroe and Rosalee into a tizzy. 

    Bart and Alice show up earlier than expected, and are eager to greet their daughter-in-law-to-be. That is, until, they hug her - and realize she isn’t a blutbad. So apparently “old-fashioned” is the equivalent to being “old-fashioned” in the 1960s. Mom and dad do not want their little boy marrying outside the race. Rosalee storms out of the house, mad that Monroe didn’t tell them she was a fuchsbau before they arrived, and leaves the blutbaden to fight among themselves. Monroe is furious at his parents and isn’t looking for their approval. The doorbell rings, and Monroe is relieved that Rosalee came back. But it’s not Rosalee - it is Nick. Bart immediately goes on the attack… and we cut to a “to be continued…” card.

    Meanwhile, in Vienna, Prince Viktor brings Adalind in to look over pictures of verrat to see if she recognizes them. She doesn’t, or she plays dumb. Gregor, the head of the verrat, suggests to Viktor in private that the baby she carries could be Sean Renard’s. Everyone just assumed it was Eric’s. Either way, it will have royal blood. But Adalind is having trouble with her pregnancy. She is often in agonizing pain, and can frequently see the baby trying to bite and claw its way out of her belly. Despite the fact that she is only six months along, Stefania assures her it will be any time now. When Adalind gives birth, all of her hexenbiest powers will return.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    While it picked up at the end (and I love that Grimm is going back to the old-school “to be continued” setups) getting there was a slow journey. Too much of the episode was spent with Monroe and Rosalee fretting about his parents coming to town. We have a dude who is scalping people, then wearing those scalps as clothing. Why are we not more focused on that?

    Big Bad…

    …Wildesheer. These wolf-like wesen are warriors, who go into battle with no fear. They would scalp their opponents and sew the scalps into cloaks, which they believed would give them the strength of the competitors they felled.

    Prophecies?

    We are on hiatus until February 28th, but when we come back, we get confirmation that Sean is Adalind’s baby-daddy, and I suspect she will give birth.


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    Cannibal Holocaust

    As we’ve seen here in the first few weeks of 2014, the landscape of the horror genre is absolutely flooded with found footage movies, and we primarily have two movies to thank/blame for that; The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity.

    While 1999’s Blair Witch Project is often credited as the first horror movie made in the POV found footage style, such a claim is actually quite untrue.  Though Blair Witch is no doubt the movie that popularized the style, and Paranormal Activity the one that re-invented it and brought it into a new decade, there were actually a handful of found footage films that came out well before the horrifying tale of the witch in the woods.

    Here are seven of those handheld horror movies, which all predate The Blair Witch Project!

    CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST – 1980

    What’s the very first found footage movie ever made?  That honor belongs to Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust, which was released a full 19 years before The Blair Witch Project.  One of the most controversial horror films of all time, Cannibal Holocaust is largely comprised of footage of an ill-fated documentary crew’s expedition to the Amazon Basin, which is recovered by a rescue crew.  So raw and real is the footage that many believed it to be much more than a work of fiction, and Deodato was arrested shortly after the film was released, under the belief that he actually orchestrated and filmed real murders.  Leading to this belief was the fact that none of the actors were available for interviews, which Deodato had them to agree to in an effort to make people truly believe that the movie contained real documentary footage.  The same technique was later used to promote The Blair Witch Project.

    MANSON FAMILY MOVIES – 1984

    After the infamous 1969 murders of Sharon Tate and friends, rumors suggested that Charles Manson and the members of his ‘family’ may have filmed bizarre home movies, documenting their crimes and possibly even murders.  These rumors became the basis for John Aes-Nihil’s Manson Family Movies, which was released straight-to-video in 1984.  An exploitation of the murder story that gripped the nation in the late 60s, the 8mm film showed what that home movie footage may have looked like, if it were to be found, and it documents the events leading up to – and including – the Tate/LaBianca murders.

    UFO ABDUCTION (THE MCPHERSON TAPE) – 1989

    1989 saw the release of Dean Alioto’s UFO Abduction (aka The McPherson Tape), which was shot on a budget of a mere $6,500.  In this early entry into the found footage sub-genre, a man is filming the 5th birthday party of his young niece, and things take a turn for the extraterrestrial when he discovers a spaceship and aliens in his backyard.  The footage chronicles the final hours of life for the Van Heese family, before they’re abducted by the aliens, and so convincing was the film at the time that many believed they had witnessed a real life alien abduction.  Alioto remade UFO Abduction a decade later with the bigger budgeted Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County, which aired on UPN in 1998.  Though neither film is available on DVD, the original UFO Abduction can be watched in full over on YouTube.

    GHOSTWATCH – 1992

    One of the most controversial TV broadcasts of all time, Ghostwatch aired on the UK’s BBC network on Halloween night, in 1992.  Directed by Lesley Manning, the pre-recorded movie was presented as a live telecast, and viewers were invited into an allegedly haunted house in London, to investigate it with a group of reporters.  Inside the house, the supposedly real paranormal activity begins, and the film culminated with the reporters coming to the realization that the program had essentially served as a live séance, which gave power to the malevolent spirit inside.  A brilliant bit of faux-realism, Ghostwatch was banned by the BBC for over 10 years after its original broadcast, a result of viewer complaints and it being linked to post-traumatic stress disorder in two children as well as the suicide of a mentally disturbed young man.  Ghostwatch is now available on DVD.

    MAN BITES DOG – 1992

    The three man team of Remy Belvaux, Andre Bonzel and Benoit Poelvoorde brought found footage to their home country of Belgium with Man Bites Dog, released in 1992.  A dark comedy, the black & white film centers around a documentary crew who follow around a charismatic serial killer named Ben, at first observing his murders and eventually taking an active part in them.  Man Bites Dog has developed a cult following over the years, and in 2002 it became a part of the prestigious Criterion Collection – the first and only found footage film to receive the honor.

    AMERICA’S DEADLIEST HOME VIDEO – 1993

    Predating Natural Born Killers by a year, the low-budget film America’s Deadliest Home Video stars Danny Bonaduce as Dougie, a home video enthusiast who’s kidnapped by a gang of killers, and forced to document their ruthless exploits.  Written and directed by Jack Perez, who has gone on to direct films like Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus and Some Guy Who Kills People, America’s Deadliest Home Video has been out-of-print on VHS for years, and is finally being released on DVD later this year.

    THE LAST BROADCAST – 1998

    There’s perhaps no film on this list that can be more closely linked to The Blair Witch Project than The Last Broadcast, which premiered just over a year before Blair Witch got all the credit for being the first movie of its kind.  A live hunt for the famed Jersey Devil is the intention of the hosts of an Unsolved Mysteries type show, which turns deadly when only one man from the four-man crew returns home alive.  Directed by Stefan Avalos and Lance Weiler, The Last Broadcast shows the recovered footage that they shot, which a documentary filmmaker is using to figure out exactly what happened out there in the woods.  While the makers of The Blair Witch Project insist they had never seen Last Broadcast prior to cameras rolling, many still credit the film with being the one that Blair Witch‘ripped off.’

    Can you think of any other found footage movies that predate The Blair Witch Project?  Comment below and let us know!


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    Attack on Titan

    Though commercials will be the talk of the internet next Monday, in the wake of Sunday's Super Bowl, the Japanese got a jump on things by airing an eye-catching ad last week, which packs more crazy visuals into its 30 seconds than we'll likely see from all of this year's Super Bowl commercials combined.

    Currently streaming on Netflix Instant is an anime series called Attack on Titan, an adaptation of a manga series that centers around massive humanoid monsters who eat human beings.  Next year will see the release of a live-action feature film adaptation of the popular series, and the film's director, Shinji Higuchi, just teased the carnage to come with an incredible commercial for Subaru, which brings the monsters from Attack on Titan to live-action life for the very first time.

    What does the series have to do with Subaru, and why did the car company agree to such a partnership?  Honestly, we have no idea.  All we know is that the commercial is totally awesome, and that's quite frankly all we need to know.  Check it out below!

    Hungry for more awesome Japanese ads?  Check out an incredibly creepy tire commercial, featuring the infamous 'Slit-Mouthed-Woman'!


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    A Christmas Story house

    Cleveland, Ohio is the site of Ralphie Parker's house from A Christmas Story, which a mega fan of the film purchased on eBay in 2004, and turned into a museum that pays tribute to the film.  The house, which was only used for exterior shots in the movie, was also meticulously restored to the way it looked on screen, and the fan even went so far as to turn the inside into an exact replica of the innards of Ralphie's house, which in the film was built on a Toronto sound stage.

    Known as 'The Christmas Story House,' the museum has become a popular travel destination for fellow fans of the iconic holiday tale, and it's open for year-round tours.  But are fans the only ones who like to hang out in there?  Or do the spirits of the deceased also find comfort in Ralphie's home?

    This past weekend, the ghost hunters of an upcoming TV show called American Haunts conducted a weekend-long investigation of the Christmas Story house, reports Cleveland.com.  Co-hosts Dave Rhode and Craig Gozzetti are the first paranormal investigators to be granted access to the house, and the results of their investigation will comprise the seventh episode of the show.

    Prior to the investigation, Rhode said that footsteps were heard coming down the stairs into the gift shop, when no one was in fact coming down the stairs, and Gozzetti said that he was eager to bring his equipment down into the basement, which he expected to be a hotbed of paranormal activity.

    No word yet on when or where we'll be able to watch American Haunts, but you can follow the show over on Facebook, where you'll soon find that information. More hauntings in Helltown, Ohio - the abandoned town filled with ghosts and legends.

    Helltown, Ohio - The Abandoned Town Filled With Ghosts and Legends - See more at: http://www.fearnet.com/news/news-article/welcome-helltown-ohio-abandoned...

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    Blade Puppet Master

    Out of all the puppets that have appeared in the many Puppet Master movies, the white-faced Blade is no doubt the most iconic and recognizable of the bunch, one of the few who has appeared in all eleven of the films that comprise Full Moon's most popular franchise.  The company has released many different toys, dolls and action figures of Blade over the years, and this year he gets the glow-in-the-dark treatment.

    An exclusive to members of Full Moon Streaming, a service that allows fans to watch all of Full Moon's films for a flat monthly fee, this special 1:1 scale replica measures 17" tall and is a completely handmade reproduction of the doll used in the movies.  Blade's face and weapons glow-in-the-dark, and his hook, knife and syringe are all interchangeable.  This particular doll can only be purchased until February 5th, and all who place a pre-order will also receive a free Puppet Master mystery bag, containing DVDs, shirts, posters and more.

    If you're a member of Full Moon Streaming, you can get your Reanimation Blade doll for $200, over on Full Moon's website.  The first 250 orders will come signed and numbered by Charles Band, so get on that as soon as possible!


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    The ancient tradition of “Sky Burial,” upheld mainly by Buddhists of Tibet and parts of Mongolia, involves a macabre ritual in which the bodies of the recently deceased are left on a mountaintop to be eaten by vultures and other scavengers... and that tradition is still in practice today.
     
    [Warning: graphic images ahead]
     
    Sky_Burial1
    Photo: John Hill
     
    The practice may have originated with the religious order of Drigung Kagyu, which teaches that a dead body should not be preserved but returned to nature. It also stems from a more practical concern: the harsh climate and rocky terrain of the high mountains makes burial or cremation difficult.
     
    Sky_Burial2
    Photo: FishOil at en.wikipedia
     
    As documented in the 12th century Tibetan Book of the Dead, the ritual indicates how the deceased should be prepared for sky burial: religious officials known as “body-breakers” carve the corpse up in a specific manner, then place it at dawn on a specially prepared “charnel ground” and leave it there for three days. The vultures are believed by some to be angelic creatures, who carry the person's sprit to Heaven.
     
    Sky_Burial4
     
    Once the vultures have eaten the best parts, the skeletal remains are often ground up into a paste for other scavengers. In some cases, some of the bones would also be used as ritual tools and decorations.

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    With writer / director Carter Smith’s supernatural horror/love story Jamie Marks Is Dead having just played the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, we thought it time to chat with the filmmaker regarding the feature, as well as to bring you three exclusive stills and a clip. 

    Based on the Christopher Barzak novel One for Sorrow, Jamie Marks Is Dead documents the discovery of the body of the titular character (portrayed by Noah Silver) in a small wintry town.  Adam (Cameron Monaghan), the star of his cross-country team, becomes fascinated with Jamie, a boy nobody really knew or interacted with, except occasionally to bully him.  When Jamie’s ghost begins to appear both to Adam and Gracie (Morgan Saylor), the classmate who discovered the body, Adam is caught between two worlds.  He has a budding romance with Gracie, but he also feels a deep connection to Jamie, who brings him closer to the world of the undead.  Madisen Beaty, Judy Greer and Liv Tyler round out the cast. Produced by Smith and Alex Orlovsky, Hunter Gray, Jacob Jaffke and Omri Bezalel, Jamie Marks Is Dead is Smith’s second Sundance selection (following his 2006 short film "Bugcrush," which received the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking).

    Chatting with Smith, he stated of his attraction to the source material, and his approach in translating it into a screenplay and film: “As a reader, I first fell in love with the characters Barzak had created, so I wanted to make sure that Adam and Jamie and Gracie all stayed true to what he’d written.  I also felt like the world he’d written was such a distinct character; the abandoned buildings and the sense that the place was dying.  So that was important to keep as well.”

    “Beyond that,” Smith continued, “it was trial and error, really.  I started out with quite a bit more of the book in the script, but gradually peeled things away until the story became totally focused on this triangle between Jamie and Adam and Gracie.  In draft after draft, and then cut after cut, I found that only the scenes and characters that moved the story forward got to stay.”

    Smith’s background lies in fashion and celebrity photography, which can be seen regularly in Elle, Allure, and GQ. “As a photographer I make images pretty much all day, every day.  I spend my life creating frames and then collaborating with a team on exactly how to cull them.  With this film, one of the things I was so struck by when I read the novel was how clearly I could see the story as I read it that first time.  I need to be surrounded by images while I’m writing, so I took a lot of pictures as I was working, of landscapes and abandoned places, but also of teenage boys, trying to figure out exactly what ‘my’ Jamie Marks would look like.  All of these pictures went into what became a huge reference file that I could share with my director of photography (Darren Lew), production designer (Amy Williams) and makeup designer (Mike Potter).”

    Distribution news to come shortly, and for more on Jamie Marks Is Dead, visit the official website at www.jamiemarksisdead.net


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    Hammer Films' cult classic Frankenstein Created Woman comes to blu-ray this week, in a slick collector's edition. This is the first time the 1967 flick will be available in the United States. Special features include commentary tracks with stars Derek Fowlds and Robert Morris, and Hammer historian Jonathan Rigby; episodes of "World of Hammer;" a brand new documentary called "Hammer Glamour;" and exclusive collector's cards.

    To celebrate, enjoy these original lobby cards and the trailer for the film.

     

     

    Frankenstein Created Woman stars Peter Cushing, Susan Denberg, and Thorley Walters. A tormented girl (Susan Denberg) drowns herself after her lover is framed for her father’s murder and guillotined. Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing), experimenting with the transfer of souls, places her lover’s soul into her body, bringing Christina back to life. With no memories of her past life, she becomes driven by a ghostly revenge and carries out a violent retribution on those responsible for both deaths.

    Frankenstein Created Woman releases on blu-ray on January 28th.


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    The Following Episode 202
    “For Joe”
    Written By: Vincent Angell
    Directed By: Joshua Butler
    Original Airdate: 27 January 2014

    In This Episode…

    Where in the world is Joe Carroll? He is living in some cabin the middle-of-nowhere Arkansas with a prostitute named Judy and her teenage daughter Mandy. Judy and Mandy know exactly who Joe is; Judy wrote to Joe while he was in prison. But to Judy’s “dates” Joe is Daryl, Judy’s brother who is trying to put his life back together after a tour in Afghanistan. One of Judy’s regular clients is the skeezy town reverend. He comes over looking for a little action, but Judy is out on a “date” that will probably last all night. The reverend naively sits to wait for Judy and puts the TV on. Before he had arrived, Joe and Mandy had been watching a program on the Joe Carroll cult. The show is on for only a moment before Joe’s mugshot appears. The reverend recognizes Joe as Daryl, and he leaves abruptly. Joe knows this can only lead to problems, so he chases after and pulls the reverend from his car. The reverend gets a good punch in, but Mandy rushes out and knocks him out. When the reverend wakes, he is strapped to a chair and Joe has dropped his cheesy southern accent. Joe toys with him, pretending to be wrestling with a crisis of conscience. Ultimately, and despite Mandy’s pleas for him not to, Joe eviscerates the reverend. Joe, ever the doting father figure, holds Mandy and soothes her as she cries.

    The twins are up to no good back in New York. They broke into a posh brownstone, killed the mother and father, locked the child in a closet, and sat down to a “family meal” with “mom” and “dad.” Dead, of course. After dinner, the residents are propped up formally in the living room in front of a fire, “dad” with a lit cigar and glass of brandy in his hands.

    Ryan gets a phone call from Luke. It takes only a moment for him to realize that Luke is part of the Carroll cult (at least one of them, anyway) and has Max trace the call. Luke teases Ryan until Ryan brings up daddy issues - the line goes dead. Max got the location anyway, and Ryan rushes there. He begs Max not to call the cops, not just yet, for fear that the sirens will scare Luke away. But the trace sends Ryan to an empty brownstone, one that has been vacant for awhile. Following the trace, he goes up to the roof, where a cell phone rings. He answers - Luke is on the other line, and Ryan sees him, wearing a Joe mask, in one of the houses across the street. Ryan finally lets Max call the cops. The cops arrive and they are greeted to the grisly tableau. Naturally, neither twin is anywhere to be found.

    Ryan is scarcely out of the crime scene when Luke calls back. This time he is taunting Ryan about Claire, and about his fondness for blondes, having seen him talking/flirting with Lily earlier in the day. Luke is watching Lily right now, at a museum fundraiser, and insinuates as much. Ryan races off. Lily has just finished her speech by the time Ryan arrives, and her friend David escorts her off stage. She is tired and wants to go home. He takes her out a back way. Mark calls Ryan this time, and their eyes lock across the crowded party. Ryan gives chase, stopping to warn the undercover FBI agents at the party (who at first refuses to acknowledge he is an agent). In the back hallway, David realizes he and Lily are being followed. Their pursuer appears, wearing a Joe mask, and Lily freaks. Another “Joe” appears, boxing them in, and they descend, stabbing David. Ryan shows up as Lily runs and passes her off to a waiting agent then pursues the attacker. The two men wrestle to the ground and Ryan wrests the mask off. Luke shows up, sans mask, and Ryan does a double-take - enough time for one of the twins to kick him while they escape. Ryan makes a few last-ditch efforts to shoot the boys. He catches Luke in the arm, a flesh wound, but they escape.

    The cops arrive. Agent Phillips is furious that Ryan has gotten involved and threatens to file obstruction charges. Agent Mendez is a little more understanding, but wants Ryan to back off. Mike is furious. Not just because his mentor is playing games, but because he has essentially turned his back on him. He is hurt. But Lily thanks Ryan, reminding him that he saved her life. She holds his hand.

    Also: Carlos is all over the news, which has Emma feeling a little twitchy. She reaches out to him through the Baltimore Gazette, which was the cult’s “failsafe.” The ad placed in the Gazette was by Carlos, but intended for Joe. Joe got the message, with a phone number, but had not called it. When Carlos’ phone, labeled “Joe,” rings, he is surprised to hear Emma’s voice. “Are you with Joe?” he asks her. “Joe’s dead,” Emma says, but suddenly she is not so sure. Giselle, listening on Carlos’s end, hangs up the phone. Emma is shaken.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    My first concern was that one (or more) of the FBI agents at the museum event would be cultists, or that David would be a cultist. It seems that the days of “everyone happens to be a cultist when it is convenient” are a thing of the past. For that, I am grateful. 

    Prophecies?

    I foresee a clash of cults coming. Emma is not going to stand for a splinter cult - and she certainly won’t take kindly to another woman shacking up with Joe.


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    Demons Indiana

    The story reads like an amalgam of terrifying scenes from movies like The Amityville Horror, The Exorcist and Paranormal Activity.  And according to reputable witnesses, including the police, it's all real.

    As per UK's Daily Mail, it was in November of 2011 that Latoya Ammons, her mother and her three young children moved into a rental home in Gary, Indiana, and soon thereafter began experiencing strange activity that led many to believe Ammons was either crazy, abusive or a combination of both.  It began with an infestation of flies and even strange wet boot prints across the living room floor, and quickly escalated to full on demonic possession, with Latoya claiming that she and her three children were all possessed.  After her 12-year-old daughter levitated high above her bed, Latoya says she contacted a clairvoyant, who warned her that more than 200 demons were calling her house home.

    Very few believed Latoya's stories over the ensuing months, though recently surfaced reports indicate that many others witnessed the same horrifying things that she did.  While at the hospital, a nurse and the family's case manager both witnessed Latoya's 9-year-old son walking backwards up a wall, both of them reporting that his movements were completely unnatural.  At an earlier doctor's appointment, the doctor reported that the children all cursed at him in low, demonic voices.

    As for local police, they say they very much believe Latoya's claims, and the captain was said to be too scared to even enter the home or investigate the premises.  According to the photo you see at the top of this post, which appears to show a figure inside the house when nobody was home, that was a smart decision!

    Since fleeing from the home, the Ammons family has experienced no further paranormal activity.  New tenants in the rental have reported nothing out of the ordinary.


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    Teen Wolf Episode 316
    “Illuminated”
    Written By: Alyssa Clark
    Directed By: Russell Mulcahy
    Original Airdate: 27 January 2014

    In This Episode…

    Allison and Chris finally get to Isaac, who is icy cold and seizing on the floor. Chris punches him to bring out the wolf in him, which snaps him back to his senses. He describes the shadowy, cloaked figures he saw, but he couldn’t see their faces - just their eyes, which looked like fireflies. Chris is concerned, but won’t tell the kids anything yet. He wants 24 hours before they breathe a word of this to anyone, but Chris thinks they were after him. In his study, in a secret box, he has a mask just like the firefly men, broken in half.

    Agent McCall has Stiles, Scott, Kira, and Lydia in for questioning after the Barrow incident. While Agent McCall doesn’t quite believe the “we were in the right place at the right time” explanation but he lets them go for now. Kira’s phone has to stay behind as it is evidence.

    The power is still out in Beacon Hills the next day, but the coach (with his trusty megaphone) assures students that classes are in session. This puts a damper on Danny’s plans for a blacklight party, but Ethan has a plan to get the party back in action. After classes, Scott sits with Kira in the hall. She doesn’t want to talk about what happened, but that lasts all of four seconds. She asks Scott to take a photo of her with his phone, with the flash on. He does, and the image that he gets makes it look like Kira is being engulfed in flames. This only started a few months ago, she explains, and it only happens when the flash is used to take a photo. Barrow took pictures of her on her phone, which is why she needs it back.

    Stiles agrees to help them out. That night, he keeps watch while Scott and Kira sneak into the police station with cloned access keys. (I assume that the police station has a backup generator that only supplies power to those digital access doors…?) They make it into the evidence room and find Kira’s phone, but it is out of juice so she can’t delete the photos, and the cops will notice if the whole phone is missing. Scott has a plan. He finds a cable and links the phone to a fully-charged laptop that was just sitting there. They wait for the phone to get juiced up enough to turn on. It’s slow going, and Stiles sees Agent McCall head into the station. Stiles chases him down and rambles on about how Barrow probably had a guy at the school to help him break in. McCall is actually thankful for the useful tip, one that he had pondered earlier. In a last-ditch effort to keep him out, Stiles menacingly warns him that his dad knows something about McCall that he doesn’t want him to know - and Stiles knows it too. McCall is shaken, but still enters the office. By this time, Scott and Kira have escaped out another door, the photos successfully deleted.

    All the kids descend on Danny’s blacklight party. Ethan and Aidan helped set it up in Derek’s loft, with a portable generator powering the blacklights and the music. Ethan goes to another room to get more ice, and he is attacked by one of the firefly men. Lydia is bored by the party, but she sees the shadowy firefly men and gets scared. She can’t find Scott, and when no one else seems to see them, she goes outside to get some fresh air. Of course, the firefly men find her out there and attack. Isaac and Allison are flirting and almost kiss but she sees something behind his ear. They go to the ice room and she sees he has a mark like a backwards 5 behind his ear. This is where they find Ethan passed out. Danny and Aidan, while searching for Ethan, find Lydia on the balcony. Stiles has been making out with Kaitlyn, the bisexual girl whose girlfriend died earlier this season. She notices that one of his keys glows - it has phosphors on it. Stiles is distracted by this. All day, he has been wondering where this strange key came from, and figured his dad put it on his key ring - but why? Kaitlyn suggests he was handling chemicals recently, and Stiles rushes out.

    Meanwhile, Derek comes home, finds the kids have run amok, and kicks everyone out. The firefly men arrive in full force, and Derek and Scott start fighting them in a beautifully choreographed sequence. Of course, since they can dissipate on a whim, stuff like breaking their necks won’t actually have any effect. The kids discover that Lydia, Derek, and both twins have been marked like Isaac. One of the firefly men seems to be gunning for Kira, but the sun comes up and they all evaporate.

    Chris returns home - from where, we don’t know - but he is broken and bloody and can barely make it inside before he collapses.

    And Stiles, with fear in his eyes, tries the mystery key. It lets him into the chemistry lab at school, where he and Lydia found the periodic elements clue. Stiles checks the handwriting. It is his. Stiles was the inside man.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    Okay, now I am dying to know what is going on with Agent McCall. Before tonight’s episode, I just assumed the McCalls split up over those generic “irreconcilable differences.” But now there is something dark there. Maybe he tampered with evidence or cheated in order to get ahead in his career? Nah, it has to be something worse. Maybe he killed someone and didn’t follow procedure? I don’t know, but I want to know!

    Best. Moment. Ever.

    Major points go to Stiles for remarking that Kira absorbed “1.21 gigawatts” of electricity. Back to the Future for the win! Extra bonus points go to the producers, who slip a few bars of the Halloween theme music into the opening scenes, when kids are smashing jack o’ lanterns.

    Silly Stiles

    Stiles hands the access cards over to Scott, who asks if they are stolen.

    “I cloned them.”

    “Is that worse?”

    Beat. “It’s smarter.”

    Prophecies?

    The firefly men are after Kira.


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    Following a bizarre series of events reminiscent of an occult thriller, dozens of police officers are combing the Italian countryside for a religious relic containing blood from the late Pope John Paul II, which was reported stolen last weekend from a remote mountain church.
     
    Pope_Blood2
     
    According toThe Telegraph, police have suggested that a Satanic group may be responsible for stealing the relic, which is described as a gold container containing a scrap of clothing allegedly stained with the Pope's blood after an assassination attempt in 1981. The object was donated to the church in 2011 (six years after John Paul II's death) by Polish cardinal Stanislaw Dzuwisz, and was being held in the Church of St Peter of Ienca, high in the Abruzzo mountains.
     
    Pope_Blood3
    Photo: Associated Press/Polizia di Stato
     
    “This period of the year is important in the Satanic calendar and culminates in the Satanic New Year on February first,” says Giovanni Panunzio, coordinator of the occult investigative group Osservatorio Antiplagio. “This sort of sacrilege often takes place at this time of the year.”
     
    Pope_Blood1
     
    Curiously, this is not the first case of papal blood theft: in August 2012, a similar blood relic was stolen from a priest while he was riding a train through Rome, but it was later recovered.

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    Stan Winston school

    Though Oscar-winning special effects powerhouse Stan Winston unfortunately passed away back in 2008, his legacy lives on in the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, which is dedicated to teaching budding young artists the tricks of the Hollywood trade.  The school is always encouraging even those who are unable to attend to hone their skills and practice their craft, and their most recent internet challenge tasked artists to come up with and design original monsters of their very own.

    Dubbed the 'Weird Monster Art' challenge, artists were allowed to depict their creations any way they saw fit, whether they wanted to draw them on paper, turn their friends into the creatures or sculpt them out of clay.  Just yesterday all five winners were posted on the school's website, and the prize for each of them is one month of free training at the school.

    Check out the winners below and head over to the Stan Winston School of Character Arts Facebook page to see all 35 entries!

    Stan Winston monster

    Stan Winston Monster

    Stan Winston monster

    Stan Winston monster

    Stan Winston monster


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    We are less than two weeks away from the return of The Walking Dead and AMC has decided to tease its return with a torturously brief trailer.

    So where are we going for the remainder of season four? From the official description: "Following the devastating events of the mid-season finale, Rick and the group are still reeling from the loss of their home, family, and friends. With the destruction of the prison, we see the group of survivors broken apart and sent on divergent paths, unsure of everyone else's fate. What was a challenging life behind fences and walls grows that much more perilous and precious as they are exposed to new dangers, new enemies, and heartbreaking choices. They will have their faith thoroughly tested -- a faith that breaks some of them and redeems others."

    I'm sold. The Walking Dead returns to AMC on February 9th.


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    When it comes to memorable movie props, the high-security velociraptor cage from the opening scene of Jurassic Park ranks pretty high; in testament to Steven Spielberg's directorial skills, audiences in 1993 were freaking out over a metal box, holding their collective breaths in fear of the barely-glimpsed deadly predator kicking around inside.
     
    Raptor4
     
    Well, now's your chance to actually own that massive chunk of cinema history, because a Florida-based outfit called Theme Park Connection is auctioning off the original raptor cage prop on eBay at this link.
     
    Raptor1
     
    The steel crate shown here, weighing several hundred pounds, is the exact prop used in the scene (not a replica), and includes a full-size velociraptor model built prior to the film's release for promotional purposes.
     
    Raptor2
     
    Since both the cage and the creature are showing signs of wear, this is kind of a fixer-upper... but that doesn't mean it's going for cheap. As of this writing, the bidding was about to cross the $100,000 mark.
     
    Raptor3
     
    If you're in the market – or just curious – Theme Park Connection is auctioning off other epic-sized Jurassic props, including the mobile lab RV and trailer (pictured above) from the sequel, The Lost World. Check it out here!

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    We start with sequences of birth: a pregnant Hermione Lodge, the proud Hiram Lodge, promising a new home and a new life in Riverdale.  It’s the past, the panels awash in telling sepia.  Then, a mystical scene involving the aunts of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch; we haven’t seen them since issue #1, and not only does this bit of continuity lend verisimilitude to the expanded supernatural Archie universe, it also reminds us that we’re looking into the past.  Artist Francesco Francavilla cleverly shades these panels in half-dark, half-light tones, keeping readers off-kilter. Suddenly, jarringly, we’re back in the present, and it’s death again.  So much death.  This is “Sleepover.”  

    We’re three issues into Afterlife with Archie, and the tone has entrenched itself.  It’s grim, but not unrelentingly so: these characters were created as light comic archetypes, and it’s not hard for writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to mine that pit to give us breathing room.  There’s a sense, too, that Aguirre-Sacasa has paid close attention to the recent success of the alternate-universe title Life With Archie; we get a lot of unexpected depth in the standard bickering and bantering between Betty and Veronica.  Some unexpected heroism by way of Archie, too – though Afterlife wisely keeps him in character by making his bravery an extension of his impetuousness.  

    There are a couple of love stories here, too; romance in the apocalypse.  There’s a scene with Moose and Midge that mirrors one of the most potent panels in issue #2; it’s not silent in “Sleepover,” but the undertones are just as disturbing. We’ve come to expect the unexpected from this comic, and here our expectations are subverted.  The couple in the clear from issue #2 suffer a tragic downfall here; the one we thought was definitely doomed speeds away on a motorcycle – a fantastic subversion of 50s monster movie imagery.  It’s one of the cooler images in a comic packed with cool images: Pop’s Diner in flames, Archie spelunking the Riverdale sewers, a writhing pool of zombie tragedy.  

    The deeper we travel into Afterlife with Archie, the more it emerges as a traditional Gothic horror story, with a modern/postmodern twist.  There’s doomed love – not just in the current catastrophe, but also in a scene between Betty and Archie; it’s played for laughs, but Archie’s inability to commit to Betty feels like foreshadowing.  Mr. Lodge’s dream may prove portentous, and Lodge Manor acts as the Gothic castle, a stand-in for every such home from Castle of Wolfenbach to Manderly.  Even Smithers gets to play a Jeevesian twist on Renfield/Mrs. Dudley, providing necessary backstory and exposition in his role as caretaker.  Afterlife is all mood, pace, and character, both writer and artist knowing the emotional strings to play while infusing a near-century’s worth of backstory with sharp, honest terror.  

    There are bonuses, even if you aren’t getting the Tim Seely variant cover.  The heavy cardstock cover gives a great heft and feel to the issue; something closer to a trade paperback than a “floppy” monthly comic.  As with the last issue, we have a backup story from Archie-owned Chilling Adventures in Sorcery, this a 1973 EC-flavored vampire tale from Don Glut and Dick Giordano.  There’s also an ad for the new Afterlife with Archie app (with original script info, variant covers, and more).  It’s a nifty free addition to one of the Archie franchise’s most popular – and best – comics in years.

    After a long hiatus, Afterlife with Archie #3 hit comic-book stores and newsstands on January 8, with either Francavilla’s regular cover, or the retro variant by Tim Seely.

    ---

    Kevin Quigley is an author whose website, CharnelHouseSK.com, is one of the leading online sources for Stephen King news, reviews, and information. He has written several books on Stephen King for Cemetery Dance Publications, including a book on comics and Stephen King, Drawn Into Darkness, as well as Chart of Darkness, Blood In Your Ears, and Stephen King Limited, and co-wrote the recently released Stephen King Illustrated Movie Trivia Book. His first novel, I’m On Fire, is forthcoming. Find his books at cemeterydance.com.   

     

     


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    The question “what would happen if I jumped into molten lava?” doesn't usually come up in normal conversation (not if you're over 10 years old, anyway), but the subject was apparently first and foremost on the minds of the documentary team Photovolcanica.
     
    Volcano1
    Photo: J.P. Eaton
     
    The filmmakers were observing the incineration of trash in the lake of lava produced by the Ethiopian volcano Erta Ale when they began to wonder if a human body would sink into the lava before being consumed by the tremendous heat, or if it would burst into flames on contact.
     
    Volcano_2
    Photo: David Jordan/Associated Press
     
    “It is possible to briefly walk on certain types of lava if professional heat-protective clothing is worn,” the team explains on their YouTube channel. “However, the video shows that falling from a height, a person would be able to penetrate the crust of the lake and submerge in it.” (Needless to day, they discourage viewers from testing this theory on their own.)
     
    The experiment was conducted with a bag of organic waste of the approximate size and weight of a human body, which was dropped from about 80 meters into the lava lake. The reaction is pretty dramatic, as you'll see below:
     

     


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