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FEARNET.com News and Reviews

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    Dead Rising, as you probably know, is an open-world video game in which you are trapped in a shopping mall and trying to battle off hordes of zombies. I remember that when the game first came out in 2006, one of the key features was that anything in the world could be used as a weapon. Everything from traditional weapons (swords, guns, chainsaws) to whatever is lying around (skateboards, mall benches, mannequin parts, and flower pots).

    A teenager in Australia took the game a little too far when he used a chainsaw to rob a convenience store. The cherry on top of this stupidity sundae is the fact that he wore a flower pot on his head like a helmet. The chainsaw was on when he lunged at a couple of store clerks, who hid in the back room. The teenager caused some property damage, mooned the employees, and left with only his chainsaw and a stolen soda. Luckily no one was injured. The kid was arrested as he fled the scene, and is being held on a host of charges, including armed robbery.

    Source: Queensland Times


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    If you’re a film collectible aficionado, then you can appreciate when a company dedicates themselves to ensuring accuracy while developing their products. At American International Toy Fair in New York City this week, Mike Drake, the Director of Special Projects at Mezco Toyz, shared with us one of their most bizarre hunts to make their upcoming roto plush Mother from Psycho completely accurate to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror thriller. 

    Drake says problems started from the top. “We tried to find a reference at Universal for what mother’s dress looked like. We see mother’s hands for two frames in the film and we see her shoes in the scene where she’s being carried down the steps.” 

    Universal searched, and in the meantime Drake says they found Mother’s head at the Museum of Cinema in France. One problem: they had the head but not the dress. “The interesting thing,” Drake shares, “is that Mother’s head is really on a human skull with wax and tissue paper.”

    Back in Los Angeles, Drake says, “Here’s where it gets really bizarre. We have Universal look in the archives for what the dress looks like and they said they don’t have anything even though they looked here and there. Usually there is some type of reference somewhere. Bob Burns, the famous [film memorabilia] collector thought he had a photo in his collection. As he looked, he suggested actor Daniel Roebuck– another horror film collector - might have something in his collection.”

    Drake continues, “It turns out Daniel had a photo of Jerry Mathers working on the head with the body.” Wait, the actor who played the Beaver from the TV sitcom classic, Leave it to Beaver? Drake laughs and says, “Yes!”

    “The guy who did the wig for the episode of Leave it to Beaver where Jerry Mathers gets a crew cut is the guy who did the makeup for Mother [on Psycho]. He had Jerry Mathers come and help him lay the hair on Mother. From that picture, we were able to recreate her dress.” 

    Mother in her resplendent cotton dress will be out in stores this year for $30.00. 


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    Dog burial

    The Aztec peoples called central Mexico home, and they held a belief that dogs were not just man's best friend, but rather man's escort to rebirth, after death. They believed that dogs could guide human souls into a new life, and so it's not uncommon for archaeologists to discover graves in the area that contain the remains of both humans and canines. What is unusual, however, is a discovery in Mexico City last week, which saw the unearthing of a grave site containing the corpses of several dogs, without any humans by their sides.

    AOL reports that archaeologists announced the find last Friday, which they discovered under an apartment building in the Mexico City borough of Aztacapozalco. The remains of 12 dogs were uncovered at the burial site, and they believe that they were buried in the small pit between 1350 and 1520 A.D., which was the heyday of the Aztec empire. "This is not the first time a burial of a dog has been found, but it is the first find where many dogs were carefully buried together, in a setting that is like a cemetery," said anthropology professor Michael E. Smith.

    Analysis is currently underway to determine the breed of the dogs and how they were killed, which could help to uncover the mystery of the rare find. What is the significance of their mass burial? Only time will tell.


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    I’ve always been a fan of mixing the horror and western genres. Something about the setting of a good, traditional western makes it ripe for elements of horror. Perhaps it’s the lack of technology, the stripping away of the abundant electricity and glowing screens that we all find comfort in these days. Maybe it’s the isolation of those long-ago days, when highways and interstates were nonexistent, and travel was by horseback or on foot and took days instead of hours. These days, if something bad happens on the other side of the world we know about it almost instantly. Back then word traveled mostly by mouth, and bad things could happen the next town over and nobody would know, until maybe that bad thing showed up on their doorstep.
     
    Dust_Devils“Adam Price and His Traveling Players,” a group of supposed actors travelling the dusty roads between towns in 1880s Mexico, was one of those bad things. Their ride was a pitch black coach with red curtains, and it looked like a coffin on wheels. And, much like a coffin, it carried death everywhere it went. Cody Wilson and Willet Black know this first hand, as Price and his posse rolled into their little town of Tonuco and turned everything upside down, leaving a lot of blood and bodies in their wake.
     
    Jonathan Janz wastes no time in jumping into action, opening with a literal cliffhanger of a scene and rarely letting up from that first page. We’re four chapters in before there is anything resembling a pause, but Janz has spent the preceding pages skillfully weaving the back story in with the action, so it’s not long before things are off and running again. The result is an epic feel in a story that plays out over just a few days. 
     
    Westerns are often boiled down to “good guys” versus “bad guys,” and while Janz’s characterizations are more complex than that, there’s no blurring of the lines between who to root for and who to root against. Price and his band of monsters are stone cold killers who see humans as food, and they feed greedily and without remorse. Wilson is a guy trying to do his best in a terrible situation; he’s in way over his head, but he’s a lot more resourceful and a hell of a lot tougher than he gives himself credit for. (Seriously – this guy takes a worse beating than Bruce Campbell in the Evil Dead movies over the course of the book, but he keeps getting back up for more.) And young Willet is a tragic figure that deserves better than all he has to endure.
     
    Dust Devils is a healthy size, but it reads like a book half its page count. It would be easy for the scenes of Price and his crew cutting their way through townspeople to become repetitious, but Janz has a real knack for writing action. Blood spills and sprays in a variety of crazy ways, bodies are torn asunder, and none of it bogs down. At various times I was reminded of movies like Near Dark, From Dusk Till Dawn and Kill Bill to give you an idea of the grit and scope Janz achieves. In other words, this would make a great horror flick, so somebody get on that, okay?
     
    Dust Devils is the most pure fun I’ve had reading a book so far this year. Granted, we’ve got a ways to go in 2014, but the bar has been set. For out-and-out unflinching horror with a strong western feel, you can’t go wrong with this one.

     

    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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    If you've seen Richard Stanley's surreal, thought-provoking and experimental horror film Dust Devil (if not, seek it out; it's well worth watching), you no doubt remember the haunting, sandblasted landscapes of the abandoned Namibian mining town of Kolmanskop, where many of the film's key scenes were shot.
     
    Sands_Time5
    Photo: Jonas Kisselbach
     
    While over two decades have passed, those deserted locations are still standing... though not for long, it seems; Nature has a way of taking back what's hers, and in the case of this eerie ghost town, the dust storms have been steadily consuming what's left.
     
    Sands_Time1
    Photo: Romain Veillon
     
    Founded by German miners in 1908, Kolmanskop was once a thriving community, but in 1954, it lost its final battle with the constantly drifting sands once the last occupants deserted. Since then, it's been converted by the Namibian government into a tourist attraction, and is still sought out by photographers drawn to its incredible alien landscapes.
     
    Sands_Time8
    Photo: Sometimes Interesting
     
    One of those visitors, French photographer Romain Veillon, has captured some of the most amazing images from Kolmanskop for his collection “The Sands of Time.”
     
    Sands_Time2
    Photo: Romain Veillon
     
    You can see Veillion's haunting photos at his website, and many more amazing images of Kolmanskop at Dangerous Minds and Sometimes Interesting.
     
    Sands_Time3
    Photo: Romain Veillon
     
    Looking for ghost towns a little closer to home? They're scattered all across North America... including historic Bodie, California and the infamous (and well-named) Helltown, Ohio.

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    Artist Emma Allen uses the human face and body – often her own – as a canvas for strange, beautiful and often disturbing painted images, many of which seem to pulse and sparkle with life. Naturally, her next major creative step was to bring those images to life literally, through stop-motion animation.
     
    Ruby2
     
    Shooting over a five-day period using only her paints, a mirror and a camera, the one-minute short film Ruby is Allen's medium for “exploring the idea of rebirth and illustrating the transfer of energy from one incarnation to another.”
     
    Ruby4
     
    Beginning with untouched features, Allen then adds layers of paint to age herself into a creepy death's-head mask, then undergoes a supernatural rebirth and transformation into a completely new creature.
     
     
    You can see more of Allen's work at her official site, and at her Facebook page appropriately titled Facepainting
     
    If you dig surreal, stop-motion horror, be sure to check out the short films of Monica Cook, which are equally amazing... and incredibly disturbing.

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    Sometimes, half the fun of being a horror fan is indulging in phenomenal cover art... especially the gory, often hand-drawn imagery of the classic horror films from the VHS era (when more than a handful of horror films boasted cover art better than the movies they represented). While we love fancy artistry, it’s hard not to appreciate the growing number of fan-created minimalist poster designs that are popping up online.
     
    There are a plethora of minimalist poster designs out there that are not trying to outdo the originals, but instead manage to communicate their message with one central theme and a background composed mainly of negative space. Sometimes less is more, and that point is really driven home in these five simple but shockingly effective designs.
     
    Hellraiser
     
    Hellraiser 
     
    Summed up as a single nail, this poster is delightfully simplistic but completely effective. Anyone who's seen the film (and probably most anyone who hasn't) immediately gets the homage this image is paying to Pinhead. Though that character didn’t really become a major part of the franchise until the second film, we still think this rendering is a brilliant tribute to the franchise at large.
     
    Psycho
     
    Psycho
     
    Since Hitchcock's classic is really built around the iconic shower scene, this is a perfect way to sum up the film in a simple drawing. The film's first half builds up to Janet Leigh's character being murdered in the shower, and once that transpires, the remainder focuses on the aftermath of her untimely death. The artist's choice to focus on this indelible image would have made Norman (and perhaps Mother) very proud.
     
    Carrie
     
    Carrie
     
    The shit really hits the fan when the titular character in Carrie gets pig’s blood dumped all over her prom dress, so a rope and bucket seem like appropriate choices to represent this Stephen King Classic. The climactic scene is a pivotal and iconic moment, so it’s the perfect selection for a design concept which sums up the film in a single statement. 
     
    Clockwork_Orange
     
    A Clockwork Orange
     
    Here, we see the title of Stanley Kubrick's classic represented quite literally. Unlike many other minimalist designs, it has little to do with a character or central theme, and instead puts a creative play on the movie’s title. This is a fairly rare case, but it actually works perfectly, and you immediately know what the design is referencing.
     
    TCM
     
    Texas Chainsaw Massacre
     
    This poster concept is another literal interpretation, but in this case it actually sums up the film’s content quite effectively. Unlike A Clockwork Orange, the imagery here is very telling of exactly what happens in the film, resulting in another fine example of a fan tribute to one of the all-time greats.
     
    Die_Hard
     
    Honorable Mention goes to this awesome representation of one of the best action films of all time: Die Hard. Since this list concerns genre films, we didn’t feel it was fair to include it, but it's so creative in its reference to one of the most iconic scenes in the film that we couldn’t help but give it a nod.
     
    What are some of your top choices for effective minimalist poster designs? Let us know in the comments below!

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    Most fans and collectors of vintage action figures have a soft spot for the toys turned out by Mego Corporation in the '70s. Their 8” action figure collections included classic monsters, Marvel and DC superheroes, and TV & movie characters based on everything from The Wizard of Oz to Charlie's Angels and Planet of the Apes.
     
    DDummies1
     
    While Mego rode off into toy history in the early '80s (and we let out a collective sigh of mourning), custom artisans have taken it upon themselves to resurrect that company's style, from figure designs and costumes to the vintage box art. One of the new players in the retro-figure game is Thailand-based outfit Distinctive Dummies, who create limited-edition series of 8” retro-style horror movie figures, in addition to their original 12” figure line.
     
    DDummies3
     
    Distinctive's limited editions include incredible likenesses of Vincent Price's characters in The Abominable Dr. Phibes and House on Haunted Hill (including a black & white variant on the latter); figures from classic British horror include Peter Cushing from the Amicus anthologies Dr. Terror's House of Horrors and Tales from the Crypt, alongside legendary Christopher Lee as Hammer's The Mummy; and what collection would be complete without the great William Marshall as Blacula?
     
    DDummies2
     
    Be sure to visit Distinctive Dummies' official site for more images and ordering info... but be sure to check in often, as their limited-edition stock rotates frequently.
     
    Do you dig vintage-style horror figures like these? Then you'll love NECA's latest additions to their new retro line, which include old-school Evil Dead and Friday the 13th figures!

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    Pennywise

    How many clowns can you pack into a clown car? Well, not many of them, if there aren't any clowns available to pack!

    As reported by the NY Daily News, membership in the World Clown Association, the country's largest trade group for clowns, has dropped from 3,500 to 2,500 in the past ten years, and the same decline in numbers has been experienced by Florida's Clowns of America International.

    The presidents of both organizations fear a national clown shortage is impending, as older clowns are dying off, and younger generations simply have no interest in slapping on the grease paint and red noses. Higher standards amongst employers, like Ringling Bros., has also been cited as a reason for the decline.

    Could the clown apocalypse be in our near future? Only time will tell.

    Over in the UK, sightings of evil clowns are on the rise, so I guess the shortage is only impacting us here in the states!


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    Another American International Toy Fair is in the books and as always, aside from the kids products and the mainstream licensed products, we’re always guaranteed to come across some oddities walking down the aisles. It’s our luck that the strange stuff often has to do with horror-related collectibles and once again, we’ve collected some cult favorites and weird, but excellent things to bring an end to our floor coverage. 

    Talking Chucky Dolls 

    Mezco gives fans of the murdering hero of Child’s Play lots of new collectible opportunities this year with a 15-inch Talking Good Guy Chucky, or the evil 15-inch version from Bride of Chucky. There will also be 16-inch plush versions of Chucky and his beautiful bride, Tiffany. Last but not least, a stylized vinyl Chucky and a strange, decorative pillow that features the box art for the doll. Available in fall 2014. 

    Battle-Damaged Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man 

    Ghostbusters celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and Diamond Select Toys is honoring the franchise with two 24-inch versions of New York’s greatest enemy: the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. However, we think the best version is the slightly smaller Battle-Damaged version which features the burn marks left on the beast after the Ghostbusters fry him with their proton packs. Available summer 2014. 

    Kotobukiya Jason & Freddy Dolls 

    Kotobukiya produces some beautiful sculptures but the announcement of their new Bishoujo versions of A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy and Friday the 13th’s Jason inspired ladies is a little too weird for us to process. Available in late fall 2014. 

    Classic Godzilla 

    With the new Godzilla film due this year, the menace of Japan is back in collectible favor again. Diamond Select Toys is featuring new versions including a 1989 style Godzilla vinyl bank, a classic style bust bank, a burning Godzilla variation and a golden Gihidra that looks amazing. 

    Monster High Dolls
    Mattel’s goth line of dolls get even weirder with their Fusion assortment that mashes together popular dolls to make new dolls with names like Lagoonafire, Dracubecca or Neighthan Rot. We say let your freak flag fly as young as you can. Available June 2014. 

    Funko Pop Horror Figures
    Horror’s contemporary greatest villains get the stylized urban vinyl treatment from Funko and they look pretty great. Chucky, Sam, Captain Spaulding, The Crow, Pennywise, Billy, Ghostface and Ash are new additions to the line this year. 

    Grimm Bust 

    Grimm’s Nick Burkhardt gets to look heroic in mid axe-swing (probably at some imaginary Wesen) for a Dark Horse bust that’s out now in stores. The show doesn’t get a lot of mainstream love so we like seeing cult show support. 

    Funko Pop Buffy the Vampire Slayer Figures 

    The Sunnydale Slayer gets the miniaturized treatment along with three of her great foes: Angel (bad  when in Angelus mode), Spike (in fang mode) and a Gentleman from “Hush”. The whole line is due in June 2014. 

    All photos by Bill Edwards.


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    Now that Miss Robichaux’s Academy is closed for business after a season which played out like the bastard offspring of Dennis Wheatley and Jacqueline Susann, American Horror Story fanatics are already filled with a giddy sense of anticipation at what demented devilry the show’s creators will serve up when the fourth season rolls around in the fall.

    The kind of creative risks and innovative storytelling displayed in American Horror Story might well have proven the kiss of death for a show in less capable hands. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk cunningly side-stepped this by utilizing an anything-goes format and taking a familiar core concept (i.e. haunted house, institution, witches coven) in a refreshingly bold direction where nothing is outside the realm of possibility (and in many instances: of plausibility) and absolutely nothing is sacred. 

    So it begs the question: where will they go next? We know that the fourth season will take place in the 1950s and could have a Cold War storyline that might take place in a circus. Will it channel the paranoid vibe of Jack Finney and explore ideas of infiltration, subjugation, and dual identities via trapeze artistry and clowning? Or will it have absolutely none of this?

    I’ve compiled a list of five potential horrors for next season, complete with fake (and awfully derivative) synopses. What are your theories? 

    AHS: CULT 

    One of the most appealing aspects of the show is its unrepentant plundering of the shadowy spots in American history. This is always done in style and with a spectacular degree of bad taste. An interesting focal point with endless possibilities for horror would be a storyline revolving around a cult, perhaps with a plot heavily informed by The Jonestown Massacre and positing a “what if?” alternate history, looking at the formation of a self-sustaining cult. It could be a controlled environment without outside interference and would be built on misinformation, fear and an insidious indoctrination that begins in childhood. You know what would be even scarier: if the show’s protagonist was a 13-year-old girl whose hometown was a Lynchian retro-suburban nightmare of a society who has submitted to the will of an ancient god for generations. And if American Horror Story channelled the spirit of H.P. Lovecraft it might look a bit like this....

    Anderton, USA population: 1476 – a picturesque and wholesome place of bake sales, glamorous suburban moms, star football players, picket fences, bloodletting and tentacled gods. 13-year-old Myra is about to find out that lurking beneath the retro-suburban gloss of Anderton is an ancient entity that feeds off purity. With the once-a-decade Festival of Nuclear Disbarment approaching, the child must put her life in the hands of The Intermediary, a Nyarlathotep-like figure who’ll take Myra on the most dangerous journey of her life: submission to The Sonar.

    Drifter and con-artist Louise Penny arrives in town, celebrated upon her arrival as a “folk saint” by the odd townsfolk and delighted with the opportunity to fleece this flock for all it’s worth, unaware that in small-town Americana, horror hides and Louise has bitten off more than she can chew...

    Potential episode titles: Indoctrinate. Ola, It's Time to Talk of Anderton. The Bombs will Fall...

    AHS: VAMPYR (or NIGHT) 

    A while back, there was talk of a vampire-themed companion piece to the show and if anybody can make vampirism primal and frightening again, it’s American Horror Story. After Coven’s uniquely feminine perspective and grotesque camp, it would be fantastic to explore concepts (and pertinent issues right now) of home, masculinity, power and social stigma from a male point-of-view. 1980s New York during “The Birth of AIDS” would make an ideal setting, where the misconception that the HIV virus was directly linked to homosexuality was widespread. It would be a reflective horror that takes a look at the political landscape for LGBTQ folks right now. A scene-stealing Frances Conroy would be the perfect casting choice as a gender-swapped Nosferatu. A Michele Soavi-style interpretation of Anne Rice?

    When 19-year-old runaway Andy, a teenager trying to escape the influence of a dangerously evangelical father, lands in Coney Island, New York during “The Birth of AIDS,” he believes he may have left that suffocating life behind him. After a violent encounter leaves him shaken, a “kind” stranger leads him to the infamous club City of Night and its owner Harvey (Zachary Quinto), and a whole new world opens up before him..

    Potential episode titles: City of Night, No Place like Home, Night of the Hunters

    AHS: 13

    Let’s be honest: Murder House, Asylum and Coven were all guilty of veering off course with bizarre plot tangents and abandoning logic when the creators wanted to tack on a gruesome set-piece. With a real-time technique spanning a total of 13 hours, the show could maintain a momentum and viewers might be spared the mid-season "muddle" area, trimming away those entertaining but extraneous episodes. Revisiting a minor (but intriguing) character from Murder House and placing her in an apocalyptic fairytale in a museum of the occult with a ticking clock counting down... 

    After her cultural memoir “Death and the Spectral Perils of Real-Estate” is universally panned, occult specialist Billie Dean Howard's (Sarah Paulson) takes a job as psychic correspondent ofoccult TV station Spirit A’s (think a televised pay-per-view Weekly World News, only with less credibility). Her first assignment is an investigative piece on V.A. Museum of the Occult in Tennessee, allegedly home to some of the most dangerous supernatural artifacts in existence. But the station has an ulterior motive for sending Billie Dean in. And Billie Dean, a woman who has spent a lifetime staring into the abyss is about to learn that the end is nigh.

    Potential episode titles: Billie Dean’s Gloomy Sunday, Sick Fairy, The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep.

    AHS: ICON

    What about entertainment terrorism: lowbrow popular culture tied directly to the American justice system in a Clockwork Orange-style alternate present. What could be scarier than a trial by the blood-crazed couch potato? Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror episode “Fifteen Million Merits” had a similar high-concept premise: in a near-future reality TV show, contestants sang their hearts out to escape a life of hard labor. What if America’s criminal underclass had only two options: the death penalty or their consciousness transferred into a blank slate, a perfectly symmetrical synthetic human with altered intelligence and talents. Imagine if, in a parallel world, Jeffrey Dahmer had been given this opportunity and his mind was housed in a Justin Bieber-type pop star! The horror! But would the idea provide enough material for the writers to stretch over a season arc? If nothing else it could be an allegory for people under intense public scrutiny and the development of dangerous entitlement complexes. Scratch that; that is no allegory! 

    The Blank Slate Program is entering its first year and launches a new reality show that is corporate-funded by Synthesis. ICON will work as both a “fight complacency hour” for the audience, and a way of re-establishing that important connection with your moral compass while entertaining the entire family. In ICON contestants will battle it out to purge themselves of their guilt in front of the viewing public with the lucky winner relieved of their memories – because guilt and fear are the ultimate burdens - and entering The Blank Slate Program. On the judging panel for our inaugural year are: Jessica Lange, Madonna and Brian Molko. 

    Potential episode titles: The Scare Factor, Audience Participation, Blank Slate Tutorial... 

    AHS: MONSTER 

    The show has always displaced time and space while shifting character viewpoints and storylines effortlessly. So what about a meta, multi-world approach to revisionist horror, a collection of Tales from the Crypt/Twilight Zone style anthology episodes featuring time-travel, doppelgangers with archetypal monsters, and other assorted ghouls? A storytelling device which would enable the creators to step into an homage of any era of horror film history, with each episode part of a larger season arc. Dicey or doable? 

    In 1950s Los Angeles, avid horror-film fan, aspiring magazine editor and “Monster Kid” Evan Beaumont is offered a "behind-the-scenes" first look at the filming of a new horror-themed soap opera called American Horror Stories, a show that will hopefully re-launch the career of actress Abigail Roth and save the failing studio that is backing the production. Before Evan can say “Lights, camera, action,” he finds himself stranded in different parts of horror film history with torch-bearing villagers, fiends and monsters in pursuit and only a strange, lonely monster as his tour guide...

    Potential episode titles: Showtime, Monster Kid, Development Hell...


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    I’ve had my eye on the career of actress and burgeoning scream queen Jamie Bernadette since we met on the set of the upcoming film Axeman at Cutter’s Creek back in 2012, so it’s little surprise that my curiosity was piqued by the drop of the trailer for Mile Marker Seven, the latest horror feature she’s headlining.  Bad things seem to happen in the forest, and she sat down with us to give us the 411.

    Written and directed by first-time feature filmmakers Anthony Scarpulla and Anthony Torrez and produced by Petter Anderson, Matthew Helderman and Luke Dylan Taylor, Mile Marker Seven follows (according to the synopsis) the character of "David (actor Wil Daniels), an independent oil contractor, on the brink of semi-retirement, is brought the opportunity of a lifetime by his friend and former business partner, Barry. Everything is going just as they wished, but what they don't realize is, while they are hunting oil, someone - or something - is hunting them."

    Joining Daniels and Bernadette in the rural mayhem are actors Theresa June-Tao (Battle of Los Angeles), Jesse Bernstein (Death Tunnel), Shawn Law and Clayton Hoff, along with veterans Eric Roberts and John Henry Richardson.

    “I thought the script was very intriguing, stated the engaging and down-to-earth Bernadette of what drew her to the project.  "It kept me guessing all the way through. I also liked the foundation of the story: a group of oil men and an oil woman going out into unknown territory to sniff out land that they believe has rich oil deposits."

    The Illinois transplant stated that principal photography, which took place last June in Eureka, California, was "magical." "Shooting there, surrounded by the enormous redwoods and sequoias, it did actually have an eerie quality to it. I felt so swallowed by those woods and the air carries an unnerving, cold chill.”

    As for her character Christine, the wife of an oil man, Bernadette told us “She used to be a nurse but no longer needs to work due to her husband's success, so she is now a homemaker. She is very sweet, helpful, and an absolute caretaker. She was a joy to get to know and to be.”

    As for what genre fans can expect, Bernadette said “Even though I was in it and I of course knew the story, it still held me in suspense! It was then that I fully realized what a great film we have on our hands, because a film that is able to keep an audience guessing, and that entices the viewer to participate in the story to try to figure the mystery out, is a gem of a movie.” Mile Marker Seven is now complete, with distribution right around the corner.

    As for what’s next on her plate, “I am acting in a super secret fan film in New York in March with director Letia Clouston, who directed me in the horror feature I produced called The 6th Friend, with (actress) Dominique Swain,” offered the actress. “Later in the year, I am filming in a horror feature called The Demoniacs in Italy by director Brian Feeney (The Echo Game), which stars Jessica Morris (Haunting of the Innocent), and I also have plans to produce two other feature films in the near future, both horror.”

    For more info on Mile Marker Seven, head over to their Facebook page. 


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    Dutch artist Rosa Verloop works in a rather uncommon medium – nylon stockings and pantyhose – and creates some of the strangest, most disturbing life-sized human sculptures you've ever seen.
     
    Verloop2
    All Photos © Rosa Verloop
     
    Preferring to work with nylons because the material is “soft, cuddly and fast” and “organic,” closely resembling the colors and textures of human flesh, Verloop says she lets the natural shapes of the material guide her hand as she tries to find the inner “story” behind each of her creations... which are often very disturbing when completed.
     
    Verloop4
     
    While the grossly distorted but still anatomically correct physical features (which often appear slightly melted) are creepy enough, it's the uncanny lifelike appearance of the nylon “skin” that makes the works so unforgettable.
     
    Verloop5
     
    “Some people will look on them with fear and horror, and others just get the urge to touch [them],” Verlopp says on her official site (translated here from Dutch). “This tells a lot about the person who looks at it.”
     
    Verloop3
     
    Personally I'm both spooked and fascinated by these grotesque but cuddly mutations; I'm not sure what that says about me, other than the fact that disturbing art always seems to intrigue me. That's normal, right?
     
    If you want to see an artist who works with even more organic materials, check out this embroidery art that's stitched into the skin of the artist's own hand!

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  • 02/20/14--14:15: 'Godzilla' Poster Debut
  • As we collectively hold our breath in anticipation of the bad-assery that will more than likely be Gareth Edward's feature film Godzilla on May 16, today Yahoo! Movies has given us our first look at the titular monster in this newly released poster. 

    Commenting on the artwork, the site posits that, "easily twice as big as its tallest building, the Transamerica Pyramid — and, as that skyscraper stands at 48 floors, that makes Godzilla himself about 100 stories high."

    I'd like to set things straight here (having visited the Vancouver set last year, I know exactly how tall this forthcoming iteration of 'The Big G' will be), though as I'm under embargo at present, 'mum' is the word. I will say though that in this writer's estimation, Godzilla fans aren't going to be let-down by his stature (like American's appetites, the radioactive lizard has been 'super-sized' since the 1954 Toho original), nor will they be by the film's stellar cast, which includes Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Johnson, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn and Ken Watanabe, among others.

    For more on Godzilla, visit the M.U.T.O. Research website


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    “A Study in Emerald” is an interesting alternate universe story in which the world of Sherlock Holmes and the HP Lovecraft Cthulhu Mythos combine. 
     
    Study_Emerald
     
    The version of the story that is available online at Neil Gaiman's site features ads throughout that are about other stories, such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The artwork is creative and fits nicely with the narrative.
     
     
    The narrator of the story tells of his friend, a famous and respected detective in a society made “perfect” by the return and rule of the Old Ones. But all is not well. One of the royal family has been murdered, his green blood splattered across a room, with an ominous message written in the royal's gore.
     
    As the story continues, the detective and narrator easily discover who the murderers are. However, catching them is not so simple. It turns out that they are just as smart, if not smarter, than the detective and the narrator.
     
    Now a lot has been said on this story in the ten years since it was originally published. One of the bigger surprises is that the detective is not Sherlock Holmes. Instead, Holmes is one of the murderers. And this makes sense, that in a world where the Old Ones could be considered good and just, that Holmes would be the villain. 
     
    This turn was a bit surprising, but was well thought-out. Sherlock Holmes as a serial killer on a mission of justice. Who knew? Dexter would be proud.
     
    There's far more to the story than meets the eye, but in order to find out, those that haven't read the story should. For those that are familiar with “A Study in Emerald,” FEARNET would like to know what your take is on the tale. What are some of your favorite Sherlock Holmes adaptations? What are some of your favorite Neil Gaiman stories?
     

    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 Cinematic Arts (Critical Studies) and a minor in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Southern California, and is a former Fellow of Film Independent's Project: Involve.

     


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    Even if you haven't heard about the legendary “Mummies of Guanajuato” – a massive army of well-preserved human bodies first unearthed in Mexico nearly 150 years ago – chances are you've seen some of the horror films that were directly or partially inspired by them.
     
    Mummies7
    All Photos © Guanajuato Museo de las Momias
     
    Beginning with references to Aztec mummies and similar undead walkers in Mexican horror films of the '60s and '70s (often pitting the monsters against popular wrestlers like El Santo), cinematic nods to the dessicated specimens also include Werner Herzog's classic 1979 version of Nosferatu– which included an extended scene of the mummies in close-up during the haunting opening credits – and the distinctive ghouls of Return of the Living Dead, which director Dan O'Bannon and designer William Stout based on images from the Guanajuato collection.
     
    Mummies4
     
    Apart from their many movie appearances, the mummies are also a vital part of Mexican culture: the Guanajuato exhibit, which includes over 100 preserved bodies of all ages (including the world's smallest mummy, a preserved fetus) is housed in its own museum, carefully studied by specialists from around the world. The museum receives hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.
     
    Mummies5
     
    You can learn more about the heritage of the Guanajuato Mummies and see many more chilling photos at the museum's official site.
     
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    Want to see even more real-life mummies? Lots more? Then check out this massive legion of the dead discovered in the jungles of the Philippines!

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    Tom Holland, the madman behind horror classics like Child's Play and Fright Night, brought his brand of terror to FEARNET last year with the web series Twisted Tales. Now you can enjoy the series on your giant TV when the series comes to DVD on March 18th. All nine Tales are included, along with behind-the-scenes featurettes for selected episodes.

    Twisted Tales is an anthology that deals with the horrors of vampires, werewolves, drugs, technology... and pizza guys.  All nine episodes were directed by Tom Holland, and stars William Forsythe (The Devil’s Rejects, Boardwalk Empire), Danielle Harris (Rob Zombie’s Halloween), Ray Wise (Reaper), AJ Bowen (Hatchet 2), Sarah Butler (I Spit on Your Grave) - just a few of the horror all-stars you will find in these Tales.


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    Last November, horror gamers and soundtrack collectors alike rejoiced in the long-awaited arrival of one of the most impressive game music albums of 2013: a massive “Ultimate Edition” of composer Oscar Araujo's award-winning orchestral score for Konami's franchise reboot Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. It represented an excellent turning point in the history of the classic horror-fantasy game – a legacy which continues next week with the arrival of the latest and (allegedly) final installment, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2.
     
    CLOS2
     
    Araujo followed the highly cinematic first release with the more contemporary and horror-centric score for the sequel Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate, but the composer returned to the original's grandiose, action-oriented classical arrangements when scoring the latest installment, which is slated to drop next Tuesday, February 25th. While it's hard to top the majesty of the first Lords of Shadow (abbreviated LOS from now on), on which Araujo worked with the 120-piece Bratislava Symphony Orchestra and a full choir, LOS2 boasts an even mightier, more traditionally cinematic score than either of its predecessors. 
     
    Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the recording process, with Araujo on location at London's legendary Abbey Road Studios, considered by many to be one of the finest recording facilities in the world:
     
     
    As the epic saga of Gabriel and Dracula continues – and presumably concludes – in LOS2, many of the motifs Araujo established in the first installment are carried over and built upon for the sequel (most memorably the tragic, piano-based “Dracula's Theme”), but you can tell immediately with the brooding, rumbling opening track “The Throne Room” and the percussive, synth-enhanced "Brotherhood Assault" that the sonic canvas has been widened even further to fit more unique textures. As in the original LOS, the arrangements are similar in scope to Howard Shore's Oscar-winning work on The Lord of the Rings; line up the chorus-filled passages from "The Paladin of God" and the plaintive violin solo of "Descent to the Castle Dungeons" against Shore's work in Peter Jackson's trilogy and you'll hear the same emotional resonance... not so uncommon for a film score, but pretty rare to carry off well in a game environment.
     
     
    Boss battles obviously pack the heaviest punch; martial brass and percussion support the most violent action sequences in "The Siege Titan," stabbing, staccato strings bring evil chills in “Satan,” and industrial rhythms add extra menace to "Chaotic Battle." While the electronic elements are dialed down quite a bit here compared to Mirror of Fate, there are frequent low, synth pulses, buzzes and beats woven into the orchestral arrangements, from the pensive "Dying for a Drop of Blood" to dynamic high-energy cues like "The Toy Maker" and "Carmilla's Flight," and dissonant electronics are well-blended with human voices in the spooky "Gods Chosen." But it's the frequent meditative moments that give the album its greatest emotional weight, often featuring a lead piano theme to state the human element within the epic landscape; the cue "Carmilla's Spell," which closes the standard album, has a “requiem” feel that is remarkably moving.
     
    As they did with the original Lords of Shadow, Sumthing Else is releasing a Director's Cut of the LOS2 soundtrack, featuring a dozen cues not found on the 19-track standard CD. Like the LOS Director's Cut (which included a whopping 42 cues for hardcore fans), it's available for digital download from the Sumthing Else web store, and they're taking preorders now.

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    The second annual CineMayhem Film Festival returns to Los Angeles with a new location and a retro feel.

    Celebrating the legacy of independent film, this year's CineMayhem will screen horror classics The Fog (with John Carpenter in attendance!), 1986's Vamp, and a special Hellraiser celebration, that includes a screening of the Clive Barker classic, as well as original Clive Barker artwork on display. Each night of the festival will also include screenings of short films, contests, and giveaways.

    CineMayhem runs March 28th-30th at Jumpcut Cafe in Studio City. All screenings are free. Keep up to date with screening schedule, ticketing info, and special guests at CineMayhemFilmFest.com


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    At a recent signing at Dark Delicacies, I was able to sit down with Lance Henriksen and speak for a few moments. I thought we would be talking about his recent western/supernatural graphic novel project with Joe Maddrey entitled To Hell You Ride, but, as you'll soon encounter like I did in this multi-part interview, the conversation soon took on a life of its own.
     
    To_Hell_You_Ride
    FEARNET: I hear that you and Joe Maddrey have been working on the graphic novel To Hell You Ride for a couple of years.
     
    HENRIKSEN: Yeah. Tom Mandrake lives in New Jersey and Joe and I live out here [in California]. What started all of this is that I wrote a script 20-25 years ago called Telluride.
     
    A Western?
     
    It was this story. I was down at Comic-Con and Mike Richardson [of Dark Horse Comics] shook my hand and said, "Do you want to do a comic? I just shook your hand, so it's a deal." We didn't have a deal, but he said it's a deal. I said, "Yeah, I'll do one." Of course the script was lost; the only copy I had of it was lost during a divorce and got thrown into a dumpster or something. But whatever happened to it, nobody was interested in it back then because I was a young actor. I didn't have any pull at all. I never forgot it. It was such a good idea, so when he said that, I said "Yeah." I wanted Tom Mandrake for the art; Joe Maddrey and I both wanted Tom Mandrake. I love his artwork. Dark Horse said, "We can't afford him." I said, "Well, I'll tell you what, man. You give Joe and my monies as the writers to Mandrake. Now you can afford it. Just give us a dollar, so that we'll close the contract. That's what we did.
     
    Are you collecting residuals or what?
     
    Nothing. From the very beginning it was to have a film made.
     
    Now you've got it storyboarded.
     
    Well, yeah... a movie that nobody was interested in, and now we do the comic, and now we'll have a movie, and it's like Alice in Wonderland, for God's sake!
     
    Has somebody taken out an option on it?
     
    Joe Maddrey and I own half, and they [Dark Horse] own the other half. 
     
    Did you find any challenges you weren't anticipating in writing it as a comic?
     
    Oh, shit. It was such a learning process because… I always hated bubbles. As a kid I was hooked on Tales From the Crypt and lots of comics. Those were so artistic, so beautiful and they're horror. Later on we did [the HBO series] Tales From the Crypt as little movies with Walter Hill and Robert Zemeckis. I did a couple of those. The education came fast and furious doing this... if you can imagine that two years' work is fast and furious. But I had to go do movies, and Mandrake had to go do stuff.
     
    It wasn't a solid two years.
     
    But wherever I was on location, I would text and call in and all of us would Skype. We'd Skype three times a week. It was a labor of love. We were using a process they don't normally use in comics; normally a comic book guy writes it and hands you that, and that's it; you never talk to him. Then the artist does it and sends the pencils. But we were working hand in glove.
     
    Steve Niles told me the most important thing is to communicate with your artist, no matter what script format you're using.
     
    Steve Niles is a generous guy. He put his name on my autobiography Not Bad For a Human as a publisher. I got them printed and all that. But the miracle that he did was that he got all of these comic book artists to do drawings for it. He just said to them, "Do you want to do it?" and they all said "Yeah!" That was it. I didn't want to use movie stills, because then it would become like "Look at me. Look at who I'm sitting with" and all that kind of stuff. Rather then it being available with the same kind of imaginary feel that the writing was. 
     
    Not_Bad_HumanWhen you read your book, do you hear your own voice?
     
    Joe did a lot of the framework, so he would ask me about something and I would go into the story in great detail. No, it's almost like having a dinner with people. Dylan Thomas said a great thing one night: he said, "Tell me about your childhood, but be quick, or I'll be telling you about mine." I think that Joe and my deal was that if we get halfway through my autobiography and it's full of shit, we'll just throw it in a trashcan and never look back. We both agreed on that. But it was building a relationship towards future things, future projects, for sure.
     
    Was Not Bad For a Human your first project together?
     
    No, Joe did a documentary called Nightmares in Red, White and Blue and I narrated it. That's how we first met. From that point on we started talking about the autobiography. He was interested in doing that, and it has just been a working relationship ever since.
     
    Any more books in the works?
     
    Well, he's writing his stuff. I'm going to try to get a movie off the ground right from the start. If I have to raise the money for it, I'll do it.
     
    From a script you wrote?
     
    No, it's something I want to put together. It's really about a guy who lived in Biloxi, Mississippi back in the 1800s. It's a great story and I want to do it. I want to play the guy. That's down the road. We also want to do a blasphemous television show like on History Channel or something about pottery and it's called Lick My Bowls. 

    Del Howison is a journalist, writer and Bram Stoker Award-winning editor. He is also the co-founder and owner of Dark Delicacies, “The Home of Horror,” in Burbank, CA. He can be reached at Del@darkdel.com.

     


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