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FEARNET.com News and Reviews

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    Out of all the new characters to appear on The Walking Dead during the first half of this third season, the one that arrived with the least fanfare is Woodbury’s resident scientist Milton Mamet. Played effectively with an understated cautiousness and optimism by Dallas Roberts (The Grey), Milton has become slowly but surely become a bit of a fan favorite while trying his best to stay in the Governor’s good graces by doing his evil experimental bidding. Will Milton suddenly decide to toss aside his glasses and pick up a weapon during this Sunday’s midseason finale on AMC? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

    FEARnet recently sat down with actor Dallas Roberts to discuss his allegiance to science and the Governor, working with the “insane” Michael Rooker, and the prospect of watching Matthew McConaughey chow down on a tasty hamburger.

    It looks like things are really about to fly off the handle between the prison and Woodbury. Do you think Milton is ready for what’s coming?

    Milton is as ready as he’s going to be. (Laughs)

    Do you think there’s any chance we’ll see him grab a gun, or another weapon, and turn into a total badass all of a sudden?

    I keep joking with them that he should suddenly just appear with some rocket-powered grenade and just be an expert at it. Like he’s just a stone killer behind all the bluster.

    Milton’s been a really interesting character so far because he walks this fine line in allegiance to both science and the Governor. Do you think it’s his love of science and experimenting that keeps him so hopeful that he can find a “cure,” or do you think it’s more his allegiance to the Governor that’s the bigger motivator?

    I think that it’s definitely his need to know more about what’s happening and try to get a handle on it that drives him and, fortunately, that skillset is valuable to the Governor. It’s a symbiotic relationship in that way. He enjoys the protection of being at the Governor’s side and the Governor doesn’t have to worry about the research part.

    Do you think that’s his own little sense of normalcy that he finds in the midst of this craziness that’s going on around him?

    Yeah, I definitely think so. One of the benefits of Woodbury is that the walls are up and the guards are on the post. So you do have what’s a version of normalcy to return to, and that amount of civilization allows for Milton to do what he does best.

    Do you think that Milton actually believes in Woodbury and what the Governor is doing or do you think he’s more scared and intimidated by him?

    I think it’s a healthy mix of both. Woodbury is the closest thing we’ve seen to an actual, functioning society, and the ability to build that out and to get a hold of the situation is being led by Woodbury, so I think that Milton firmly believes in that. He also understands that the Governor has to use intimidation and, sometimes, force to keep that society going.

    After last week’s episode, and the scene with Laurie, do you think that Milton is finally going to come around now to the truth or do you think that he’s so steadfast in his belief in science and medicine that he’s still going to keep trying?

    I think that his initial test returned an answer that he wasn’t happy about. I’m not sure about whether his belief system will overtake him again or whether he’ll trust the science. One would imagine that the scientist would follow the science.

    How was it joining the cast this year after last year’s finale gave so many people chills? Was it very intimidating joining this already-successful show?

    It wasn’t intimidating. It was exciting. I was thrilled to be a part of it, having been a fan of the show and the comic books before, so it was charged to show up. What’s wacky about it is, having watched season one and two, and knowing The Walking Dead as that band of eight people, and then I’m transported to Woodbury, which is completely separate so far from those guys at the prison. That was an odd transition as I was thinking, “I’m going to go be on The Walking Dead! But I’m not going to recognize anyone from The Walking Dead.” (Laughs)

    How has it been working with David Morrissey and a legend like Michael Rooker?

    Incredible, both of them. They’re both just great. David and I have just a ball of a time working together. And Michael Rooker and I – that dynamic between Merle and Milton in their sort of one-ups-manship in their allegiance to the Governor – is incredibly fun to play. Michael’s insane, so every time you’re in a scene with him, you have to be on your toes.

    How about the zombies? Do you ever get the urge to ask makeup to get you all zombified?

    I totally would, just out of curiosity, but it’s a two-and-a-half or three-hour process so I’d probably want to be asleep for most of that. (Laughs)

    What are the chances you think we might get to see a zombie version of Milton at some point?

    I don’t know, man. I can tell you that every script I get, I open it up to make sure that it hasn’t happened yet.

    Is that something that you worry about working on a show like this? That your days are always kind of numbered?

    Yeah, you can’t really worry about it, but it’s something that you take on when you take on the part. I imagine that’s what it must have been like to be on The Sopranos or what it’s like to be on Boardwalk Empire now. You know that they’re willing to take anybody out at any time, so if you worry about it then you’ll just spend your whole time worried. If it comes, I’m going to try to prepare myself for it.

    I’m sure they have you pretty hush on the details, but is there anything you can tell us about this Sunday’s upcoming midseason finale?

    I can tell you that when the screen goes black at the end of the episode, everybody is going to be really, really mad that they have to wait two months to find out what happens next.

    You’ve worked on some great movies over the past few years with The Grey and 3:10 to Yuma as well as your work on TV shows like The Good Wife and The Walking Dead. Do you have a preference between the two formats?

    I find them essentially the same in terms of what I do. Film and television feel very similar because I’m also a theater guy. I came up in the theater, so that really feels quite different. The only difference between television and film, for me, is that with film you know the end and in television you don’t know the end. Film feels like you sort of draw a line between where you start and where you finish, but in television you’re drawing the line as you go episode by episode.

    You recently signed on to Dallas Buyer’s Club with this incredible cast. Are you excited to work with folks like Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, and Matthew McConaughey?

    Yeah, it’s going to be awesome. The script itself is really cool and powerful and meaningful. I leave on Sunday to jump on a plane to join them, but I’m proud to be in it already.

    What can you tell us about the film and your role specifically?

    The film centers around a guy in the 80’s who contracted HIV and was dissatisfied with the drug companies pushing profitable drugs over healing drugs, so he figured out a way to import drugs from Mexico that weren’t approved by the FDA yet. He would then sell the drugs to other sick people and, in fact, improved their lives and extended their lives through that action. I play his lawyer.

    It sounds really interesting. Obviously a lot of the attention given to the film so far has been about Matthew McConaughey’s dramatic weight loss for the part. He’s talked a few times about how he can’t wait to have that first hamburger. Do you want to be there to see that first hamburger go down?

    (Laughs) That would be fun. Although, I’ve got to imagine that first hamburger is going to hurt like hell. His stomach is going to be like, “What the heck is happening?” (Laughs)

    Anything else coming up for you?

    There’s a movie called Shadow People that you should look out for and there’s a movie called Ingenious that just had its premiere recently. Hunt around and check them out.

    You can see Dallas Roberts as Milton Mamet in “The Walking Dead” when the Season 3 midseason finale airs on AMC this Sunday December 2.


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    Typically, this feature is titled “This Day in Horror.” Unfortunately, not too much was happening on November 30. But, taking a look back at the full week, there were a few cool releases. One was Jorge Grau’s Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, which in the original Spanish title roughly translates to Do Not Profane the Sleep of the Dead. It’s also known as The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue and in America, Don't Open the Window.

    This early addition to the zombie film genre is renowned for a rumored eyeball-eating scene that, as far as I know, has never been confirmed. It boasts beautiful camera work, a satirical plot, and a dash of Hammer influence.  Edgar Wright was influenced by Let Sleeping Corpses Lie for his Grindhouse trailer Don’t.  He told the MovieFreak.com,  “Yeah. It basically like in the ‘70’s when American International would open their films in the States and they’d change the title to something more sensationalistic and they would do a rather aggressive voiceover, and that’s basically my trailer. The British title would be something really boring like, An Incident at Cot Hall. [laughter]
     
    That’s the thing, they’d used to have these films like The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, Don’t Speak Ill of the Dead or Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, and then when they’re released in the States it’s called [lowering his voice like an ominous voiceover artist], Don’t Open the Window! And that’s the type of nonsensical, aggressive title you’d find, and that’s what we were going for [in Grindhouse].

    Title:Let Sleeping Corpses Lie
    Released: November 28, 1974
    Tagline:"To avoid fainting keep repeating, it's only a movie... only a movie... only a movie... only a movie..." (sound familiar?)


     

    via MovieFreak


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    It’s a new FEARnet feature dedicated to the awesome women of horror, the final girls. A label first coined by film scholar Carol Clover, the Final Girl embarks on a battle against a monster which ultimately causes a personal transformation. In other words, this girl drives the story, fights the slasher, and at the end, is a changed person.

    This week’s final girl is Jennifer Hills from I Spit on Your Grave (Day of the Woman), an extremely controversial film in its time and one that many still find difficult to watch. It’s held up as a classic example of a rape/revenge film and in some circles considered to be a positive force in the criticism of mainstream movie making, a reaction to violence against women and a fully feminist film.

    Movie: I Spit on Your Grave
    Year: 1978
    Final Girl: Jennifer Hills
    Best Kill: In classic final girl style, Jennifer takes emotion involved with the atrocities that have been committed against her and uses it as fuel for what turns into extremely bloody, and ultimately cathartic revenge. She tricks and torments the perpetrators, eventually castrating one, hacking one up with an axe and in the finale, hitting one with a motorboat. The motorboat finale is the scene I would pick for best kill, but it’s been blocked for embedding. Instead, watch the trailer below.


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    Most of us know rabid record collectors, but a rabid record collector who specializes in the '70s prog rock outfit Goblin - that's next level. Goblin is probably best known for creating the unforgettable musical accompaniments to Argento's films.

    This month, Ian Zapczynski takes FEARnet on a tour of his over 600 strong LP, 7" and 12" collection. This man is serious about Goblin and all things related to the band.

    The Collector:  Ian Zapczynski

    Location:  About 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    What:  Goblin.  LPs, CDs, and all merchandise related to the band who is best known for their music for horror films.   This includes records by other artists that members of Goblin performed on or produced, an aspect which makes my collection unique amongst the few other serious Goblin collectors.   You haven't lived until you've paid $50+ for an LP that is absolutely impossible to listen to just because Maurizio Guarini played keyboards on one track.

    Years Collecting:  I've been collecting for nearly 20 years now although I took several of them off to focus on other things, mainly a marriage.  

    How Many:  300+ LPs, 200+ 7" and 12" singles, 120+ CDs, 50 cassettes and a small number of 8-tracks.  I have never taken the time to estimate how many thousands of dollars have been spent on this collection over the years and I'd really rather not.   Suffice it to say, the rarest items don't come cheap.

    How the Obsession Started:  Can't remember anymore if it was their music from Dawn of the Dead or Night of the Zombies that first really caught my attention, but I loved the music so much that I had to get it on record.   I was easily able to obtain the US Dawn of the Dead LP and listened to that constantly.   I was slowly able to start finding their import releases as years went on. I won't forget screeching like a little girl when I found my second Goblin LP, their Greatest Hits album, at a record convention when I was a teenager. At the time, there was no information available on the band in America, so the mystery surrounding them definitely helped feed the obsession.  Something that we can't relate to in the internet age is that not even knowing what items are out there makes it even more exciting to collect them.   Everything you find is a total surprise!

    Most Prized Find:  Either my sealed Canadian Roller 8-track or a British LP test pressing of the Suspiria soundtrack.   Neither are unique but both are still extremely rare.

    Rarest Piece in Collection:   An original CD-R of still unreleased demos that Claudio Simonetti sent to a record company to promote his then-new band, Daemonia.   This isn't merely a copy; this is the actual CD-R that Simonetti provided to them complete with handwritten track listing.  It of course was not supposed to end up in a collector's hands, but it did anyway.

    Craziest Thing You've Done for the Collection:  Unfortunately, the craziest things I've done have hurt the collection more than helped. I've paid $600 for one item and $1000 for another only to trade or sell them later, getting much less than they were worth in return.   I also had Claudio Simonetti autograph the ultra-rare original Cinevox Cherry Five LP and make it out personally "To Ian".  This is a record that I could have easily resold for at least $800, but is now worth far less with the autograph.   But perhaps the truly craziest thing I've done for the collection is to buy it at all, because when I die, these items will likely be sold at a garage sale for $2 apiece.

    The Horror Holy Grail: (one piece you've been searching for forever)  Actually, I've just recently found it.   I searched more than 15 years for a copy of Claudio Simonetti's Ritratto D'Autore LP, and oddly enough I found 3 for sale on Ebay in the space of a few months after not seeing any anywhere for so many years.   All three sold for prices between $400 and $900 and I bought two of them!!  

    What Else Do You Collect:  I have thousands of other rock LPs and CDs as well as nearly as many VHS tapes and DVDs, mostly horror films or those in genres that appeal to horror fans.  

    Do you know an obsessive horror collector? Is that obsessive horror collector you? We want to know more about your obsession. Email FEARnet here and tell us about your obsession.



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    Yesterday, we gave you a gallery of ghoulish zombie ornaments to cheer up your Christmas tree. We wanted to highlight some of the non-zombie, but equally horrifying, twisted, and weird ornaments there are out there.

    Mars Attacks! It's pricey, but it's cool.

    $48.99 at Entertainment Earth

    Joy to Cthulhu

    $7.99 at Think Geek

    Jigsaw

    $12.99 at Etsy

    You get two Santa skulls for the price of one!

    $9.99 at Etsy

    Disney embraces the dark side of Christmas with these Haunted Mansion Holiday-inspired ornaments.

    $75.00 for three at Disney


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    Following in American Horror Story's painfully-short teaser model, A&E has released the first micro-teasers for their upcoming Psycho"prequel," Bates Motel. It's an embarrassment of Bates Motel riches, as earlier this week a slew of stills were released.

     

     


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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!

    American Vampire No. 33
    This issue sees the culmination of the "The Blacklist" storyline, which followed the love story of Pearl the vampire and Henry the human. With her old enemies about to turn her dying love into a vampire under their control, Pearl has to fight to save her husband's life (and next-life).

    Bag it or board it up?
    This is a beautiful, heartfelt end to a great run with these characters. I don't know if the next storyline will pick up where this one leaves off, but I hope it does. Not only does this issue hit on all the emotional cues, but it's also action-packed and grisly.

    Lot 13 No. 2
    Lot 13 follows a family as the move into an old house filled with vengeful, gory ghosts. Written by Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) this issue features a seductress with a big hole in her head, a deformed child with a penchant for violence, and all types of torn-apart spirits.

    Bag it or board it up?
    This is classic Niles. Very bloody story filled with characters who are current and easy to connect with. This is good horror comic stuff, and it's nice to see so much blood splattered on the old haunted house genre. In a setting normally gray and full of cobwebs it's refreshing to see a splash of blood red here and there.

    I, Vampire No. 14
    Andrew Bennet is our vampire hero. He's been using his powers to fight the darkness that threatens to swallow up the world. Well, now he's given in to the evils that threatened to overtake him and he has, effectively, gone batshit crazy. He's now recruiting an army of powerful vampires to conquer the world, and it's up to his ex-girlfriends to put a stop to him!

    Bag it or board it up?
    One thing's for sure: I would not want to face off against all of my exes... but I don't have magic abilities, either, so it wouldn't really be a fair fight. I'm a luke-warm fan of this series, but if this is the direction it's taking I could get really into it. The pace seems faster now, and the action is intense. Hopefully they can keep up the pace.

    Grimm's Fairy Tales: Sleepy Hollow No. 2
    In a small town that was the basis for the original tale of Sleepy Hollow a group of college students accidentally, through a strange fumbling, bump their friend in front of a train and he gets decapitated. Now they're freaked out as their teacher tells them all about the basis for the legend of Sleepy Hallow. Could their friend come back as the headless horseman?

    Bag it or board it up?
    Oh, Grimm's Fairy Tales, why are you so obsessed with busty women? This was a perfectly normal story, full of good exposition and clunky, unclear action. They tell the whole story, in flashback, as to how the headless horseman legend began. But the way it's told is by a super-busty, super-sexy teacher in a short skirt. Maybe younger audiences get a kick out of this, but I find it a bit laughable. Grow up, Grimm's.


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    You may know Myke Hideous from the bands The Empire Hideous, SpySociety99, The Misfits and The Bronx Casket Co. He also wrote an autobiography about his life and times in the music industry, King Of An Empire To The Shoes Of A Misfit.
     

    Director Pawl Bazile’sfilm Living the American Nightmare was released in 2011. The documentary tells Myke’s story in the industry through interviews with fellow musicians.  

    There’s been a bit of drama surrounding this documentary. Pawl Bazile had this to say about Myke’s interviews in the film:

    “One of the funniest aspects of the film is how seriously Myke Hideous takes himself in comparison to the other guys in his band. And when you see that, and as the film cuts back and forth, you see the other guys are really light-hearted about everything and then Myke is staring at the camera intently and pointing his finger. He’s hysterical and it’s completely unintentional. It doesn’t make him look foolish or anything like that, it’s just that that is exactly who Myke is if you’ve ever met him. He’s a very intense guy, a very passionate guy. He’s still passionate about stuff that happened 15 or 16 years ago.”
     

    Director and subject did not see eye-to-eye on the focus of the documentary and parted ways. Now, a new cut is available from Myke’s point of view, Living The American Nightmare - The Hideous Files. There’s also been some talk in regard to Peter Steele’s interview from the original cut. Here’s the official statement from Myke’s people:

    “There has been internet chatter regarding the Peter Steele (Type O Negative) interview in the "directors cut" of "Living The American Nightmare".  The footage was Steele's final video interview before his untimely passing in April 2010.  Steele was a long time friend of Myke Hideous.  In fact, Steele was a great supporter of Myke's career.  He also tried to interest Type O Negative's record label, Roadrunner Records, to sign Myke's group, The Empire Hideous. The footage of Steele in the film is a sign of respect to a man who had not only been a friend to Myke, but also someone who Myke cared about and deeply respected.”

    Watch the trailer for the new cut below. Interviews include John Kelly, Kenny Hickey, Steve Zing, Michael Alago, Arturo Vega, Todd Youth, DD Verni, Bobby Steele, and members of The Empire Hideous, SpySociety99, Electric Frankenstein, and The Bouncing Souls.
     


     

    via GhoulsonFilm
     

     


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    It’s a strange world we live in, where a military-themed FPS like Call of Duty sees annual releases alongside sports titles like EA’s Madden games.  It’s an aggressive scheduling decision that no one else has managed to match, keeping Activision’s stranglehold on the multiplayer scene strong, loosening only slightly for occasional competing released like Halo or Medal of Honor.

     

    In order to keep this annual rhythm going, Activision ping-pongs development for Call of Duty between two separate teams, Infinity Ward and Treyarch, giving each team a reasonable 2-year window to complete their respective games.  This also has the side effect of flavoring each year’s game to their respective team, particularly in the area of multiplayer.  This is no more apparent than in Treyarch’s signature multiplayer mode Zombies, which has infected their biannual shot at Call of Duty since World at War.

     

    With this year’s Black Ops 2 being Treyarch’s turn at bat, Zombies has risen once again, with a few new tricks up its putrescent sleeve.  The formula is the same as it’s always been: slaughter zombies for cash in a small arena, use said cash to buy better weapons and expand said arena, lather, rinse, repeat.  There have been some brilliant variations on the theme like 2010’s “Call of the Dead,” which pitted a quartet of b-list actors against a zombified George A. Romero, and an airless romp across a lunar base. 

     

    The big change this year is “Tranzit,” which takes the usually intimate maps and blows them out to a series of pseudo-open-world arenas, joined by a robotically driven bus (Johnny Cab’s mass-transit counterpart?) which draws zombies to it faster than creepy moms to a Twilight screening.  This new format is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but the retro-futuristic theme of this new map makes it sing.

     

    There’s also Survival mode, which will be familiar to fans (stay alive as long as possible on one map) as well as a new competitive team-based mode called “Grief.”  “Grief” is incredibly amusing, as you cannot directly damage your enemy’s team members, but instead rely on traps and the zombies populating the map to do the dirty work.  It’s basically non-stop trolling of your opponents, and it’s hilariously scummy at times.

     

    The beefy Zombies additions—which are sure to be further enhanced with the obligatory DLC further down the road—are stacked up with a solid single-player experience that jumps back and forth in time to add a futuristic flair to the Cold War covert ops of the flashbacks.  It also features the voice of Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer), making his sophomore return to Call of Duty as your hard-bitten brother-in-arms.  It’s not the sort of thing we really talk about here at FEARnet (the horrors of war aren’t really the horror we’re looking for), but it’s solid, intriguing, and full of the over-the-top setpieces that have defined the franchise.  There’s nothing as earth-shattering as the first Modern Warfare and its nuclear devastation, but it’s got all of the blistering cues of a great, lead-spewing action flick.  It's a fantastic diversion when you don't feel like going online, and makes Black Ops 2 a fantastic package, especially with the new Zombies additions.


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    Why would you need to see your favorite slashers in cupcake form? It doesn’t really matter why. All you need to know is these cupcakes are amazing.

    Created by The Bird and The Bee, the ultra-mini killers can be worn on a charm bracelet, around your neck, on your keychain or cell phone. All pendants are made from polymer clay and include a .5mm black stretchy cord and clasp. This set of five includes Jason Voorhees, Chucky, Freddy Krueger, the Scream dude and Jigsaw.

    They also offer a Jack and Sally earring collection!
     



    $30.00 on Etsy


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    When you care enough to send the very best, send The Walking Dead. AMC has teamed with ReelCards to offer a wide variety of The Walking Dead-themed video e-cards. What better way to say "Happy Holidays" than with Daryl elbow-deep in zombie guts?

    The videos come with pre-written greetings, or you can add your own, which makes them perfect for non-holiday greetings as well. You can even choose the music cue to go along with your sentiments. Dozens of videos sorted by category mean there is something for everyone.

    The e-cards are only available on Facebook, but they are free.


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    A Mecca for geekery, Fantastic Fest has been an Austin staple since 2005. Founded by Tim League of Alamo Drafthouse, Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool News, Paul Alvarado-Dykstra, and Tim McCanlies in 2005, the festival specializes in all things genre, showcasing sci-fi, fantasy, horror and cult cinema. It’s held each year at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

    If you aren’t one of the lucky people who have experienced the festival first hand, the new documentary from Austin's PBS station KLRU, All My Friends are Vampires offers “an all-access pass to Fantastic Fest.” It includes interviews with some of the key players and organizers of the fest who give background as to how it has changed international film culture.
     

    Watch All My Friends Are Vampires on PBS. See more from KLRU.

    via KLRU


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    Warm Bodies is a new take on the zom-com: it is told from the point of view of the zombie. Kind of throws your world knowledge of zombies into a tailspin, doesn't it? Enjoy the new trailer, and a couple new stills.

    Official Synopsis: A funny new twist on a classic love story, WARM BODIES is a poignant tale about the power of human connection. After a zombie epidemic, R (a highly unusual zombie) encounters Julie (a human survivor), and rescues her from a zombie attack. Julie sees that R is different from the other zombies, and as the two form a special relationship in their struggle for survival, R becomes increasingly more human - setting off an exciting, romantic, and often comical chain of events that begins to transform the other zombies and maybe even the whole lifeless world.

    Warm Bodies heats up theaters February 1st.


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    Norman Prentiss, winner of the 2010 Bram Stoker Award for Long Fiction, took some time out of his schedule to talk to FEARnet about his new novella, The Fleshless Man. He's previously won a Stoker in the Short Fiction category for In the Porches of My Ears, which originally appeared in Postscripts 18.

    Other publications include a mini-collection Four Legs in the Morning, a chapter in the round-robin novella The Crane House: A Halloween Story, and anthology appearances in Blood Lite 3, Zombies vs. Robots: This Means War, Horror Drive-In: An All-Night Short Story Marathon, Black Static, Commutability, Damned Nation, Tales from the Gorezone, Best Horror of the Year, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, and three editions of the Shivers anthology series. His poetry has appeared in Writer Online, Southern Poetry Review, Baltimore's City Paper, and A Sea of Alone: Poems for Alfred Hitchcock. Visit him online.

    Your newest work is The Fleshless Man. Can you tell us a bit about that?

    This is my newest book, and it’s part of the Delirium Novella Series. I think of it as a haunted house story, in tone and atmosphere especially. It’s about a man who returns to his childhood home after a long absence, because his mother is dying. Her illness seems to permeate the house itself, and unsettling things happen there: the protagonist has strange dreams and dark waking thoughts; his brother grows ill; the attending nurse behaves oddly. And the mother whispers that “The Fleshless Man” is coming to kill her.

    Why the title, The Fleshless Man? What inspired this particular tale?

    I “borrowed” the title from a character mentioned in a Sherlock Holmes story, The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb. In the Arthur Conan Doyle story, it’s kind of an offhand description of a guy who’s thin and sinister, and I thought: “That would make a good title for a horror story.” Once I had the title, I thought of different things a Fleshless Man might be. First, I linked it to a kind of mythology I was toying with in a larger work, and that’s where a kind of monster-story element developed. But as I kept thinking about the concept, different possibilities arose, and I wanted to work several of them into a single story. He ends up being a kind of manifestation of the mother’s illness, but he’s perceived differently by different characters. Maybe they’re all right. Maybe none of them are.

    I was also really interested in how a terminal illness affects both the patient and her loved ones. Life becomes surreal in these circumstances, and I think that’s why The Fleshless Man has more surreal elements than a lot of my other works. It’s a haunted house story without a ghost, a monster story that’s (maybe) without a monster.

    In the novella, there's the line: "The Flesh is soul. You're trying to lose your soul." What does that mean in terms of the story?

    That line comes from the brother’s part of the story, and his version of the Fleshless Man relates to body image. As he exercises compulsively to lose weight, the stress of caring for his dying mother wears him down as well: is he giving up his own identity to become a caregiver? Has he let others influence how he sees himself? He might be losing more than weight, and doesn’t want to admit it.

    If the novella is adapted for the screen, who do you see playing the main characters?

    I’ve actually been considering a script version of this book—but for the stage rather than film, so I’m going to sidestep the question a bit. The challenge would be deciding how to represent the Fleshless Man meaningfully on stage. For example, I’ve got an idea of lantern slides to help the nurse tell her “history” of the Fleshless Man—kind of shadow puppets, projected onto the patient’s privacy curtain. Another representation could be a full-sized puppet, which might have some interesting symbolism (who’s controlling the puppet, especially if some of the characters create him in their minds?)

    What was the writing process like for The Fleshless Man?

    Well, whenever I write, it tends to be in a library—away from the distractions of home and the Internet. I wrote this book on weekends, and on afternoons when I didn’t have classes to teach. The novella came together in layers as I worked on it—not a straightforward plot that I mapped out, since the book doesn’t quite have a conventional plot—but more like effects and moods that would accumulate as the story moved forward.

    How do you think it compares to your other works?

    It’s a bit more experimental than my other works—more surreal, as I mentioned earlier. There’s a lot of ambiguity, with some possibilities still open at the end. I knew I was taking some risks with it, and a few readers have wished for more answers—but quite a few people have told me they think it’s the best thing I’ve written.

    Anything else you'd like to add?

    I should point out that Delirium/Darkfuse prints a very limited number of hardcover editions, and the print version of The Fleshless Man sold out pre-publication. However, electronic editions are easily available—Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Google Play. Check the publisher website for more details: http://www.darkfuse.com/the-fleshless-man-by-norman-prentiss.html

    A lot of my stuff initially appeared in signed limited editions (including Invisible Fences and Four Legs in the Morning, both from Cemetery Dance), so I’m happy they’re getting a “second life” as eBooks!


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


     


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    The Walking Dead has only been on mid-season hiatus for about 19 hours, but we are already going through withdrawls. Luckily the internet is a vast and powerful source... of zombie kills. Intrepid fans have put together season-by-season supercuts of all The Walking Dead zombie kills. Bonus fun: play all three videos at the same time, on the same screen. It's madness!

     

     


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    Why should Christmas get all the fun? You can zombify Hanukkah, too. Granted, there are not as many options for the Jewish kids, but then again, there were never very many festive options for Hanukkah. I was raised in a Jewish house and Hanukkah was little more than five minutes a night of candle lighting and tearing open presents.

    I have scoured the interwebz hunting for ways to zombify, monsterfy, and otherwise horrify your Hanukkah. Enjoy!

    Possibly the greatest Hanukkah card ever - and available to purchase!

    $3.00 at Etsy

    If I had had a Godzilla menorah, I may have been religious.

    Another Menorahzilla... this one you can buy

    $360 at Etsy

    It is doubtful that this fish head menorah will last through eight crazy nights, but it will freak out your guests.

    Sea monster menorah

    $420 at Etsy (this one is reserved, but I bet if you ask really nicely...)

    This guy has a "Dreidel of Filth" tattoo. There are so many things wonderfully wrong with that.

    The perfect menorah for the zombie apocalypse

    Plus, a dreidel for reloads

    And of course... the Human Centipede Menorah!

    No home should be without one.

     


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    Horror fans should know the name Catherine Hicks well if only for her starring role as Karen Barclay in the original Child’s Play film. Not only does she give her son one of the very worst Christmas gifts in the history of the holiday, she then has to spend the majority of the film running from this possessed killer doll. Fans ate it up and turned this little film into a multi-film franchise that continues to this day (Don Mancini recently announced that filming had completed on Curse of Chucky in anticipation of a Halloween 2013 release). What fans might not know, however, is that Catherine Hicks actually made her feature film debut, alongside Peter Billingsley, way back in 1982 on a horror film called Death Valley.

    With Shout! Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray of Death Valley hitting stores on December 11, FEARnet sat down with Hicks to discuss her feature film debut, working with Billingsley, and the lasting legacy of Chucky.

    Death Valley was your first feature film role. You had done some television work prior to that, but what was it like to be on set for that first feature film?

    Well, what I had done prior was the hugest TV event that year, a biography of Marilyn Monroe [Marilyn: The Untold Story], and there was an actor’s strike. The town was empty. I had always just wanted feature films. I always turned down all sorts of great TV series offers because that wasn’t my dream.

    I had just come from New York and I had done The Bad News Bears with Jack Warden and then Marilyn and so Death Valley was sort of like this period where nothing was going on because everyone was on strike. It was like a ghost town, but this movie my agent found and I was just happy it was a feature film. I said okay right away. My hometown is Scottsdale, Arizona, and a lot of it was shot in the desert there. I remember John Lennon died when we were in Tucson on location.

    Did that impact the set at all?

    No, not that I recall. It impacted me.

    Did you feel a lot of pressure at the time? As you said earlier, this is what you really wanted to do.

    I know. I’m always in denial when something is a horror film because I always just think, “Well, it’s always just a top-notch feature film.” So, no, I was more excited and happy. I was also impressed because Paul Le Mat had just been nominated for an Academy Award for Melvin & Howard so he was a very valid movie actor. I didn’t know anything about Peter Billingsley at the time. The director [Dick Richards], I think there was some chaos on the set at one point. (Laughs)

    We definitely had some set issues. Paul Le Mat was…what shall I say… temperamental. (Laughs)

    (Laughs) Much like his character!

    Yeah. It was really just about going along with the flow and trying to do a good job. I remember that it was hard to shake Marilyn. I still had a little bit of her in me, so I think I still had blonde hair and I was slightly overweight. I was still sort of half-Marilyn.

    Was it a normal audition process for you getting this role?

    I think it was an offer. There was high interest because I was, again, very high profile for the Marilyn Monroe biography, but I think I may have read as well. I know I had a meeting. I don’t remember auditioning. I think it was a meeting and an offer.

    Were you aware of Dick Richards’ previous films, like Farewell, My Lovely, prior to signing on for the role of Sally?

    I think so. My agents told me about his work, but I hadn’t seen Farewell, My Lovely.

    Other than the somewhat chaotic set at times, how was it working with him?
     

    I thought he was very nice and very mild-tempered. That’s what I recall. He, perhaps, could have been a more dynamic captain of the ship and have more of a vision, but he was very relaxed and nice.

    How was working with Paul, aside from his sometimes temperamental attitude?

    I liked him. We got along very well.

    And what about Stephen McHattie? He seems to be supremely creepy in just about everything he does.

    I know. Well, I thought he was just really darling. He had just done a James Dean biopic and I think I felt kindred spirit to him having just both played legends and having them well received. I thought he had a neat quality. To me, he was what I pictured James Dean would be. He was quiet and private, but not creepy and not an asshole. (Laughs)

    I think the three of you have this great chemistry in the film and then you throw in this little child actor named Peter Billingsley who would go on to be synonymous with A Christmas Story. Was he a natural right from the start? Did you just see it in him that he had it?

    Yeah, he’s minimalistic and he’s just so adorable in the film. He doesn’t do a lot of acting, which is why it’s cute. He’s not precocious. I’m pretty sure that he had already shot A Christmas Story prior to shooting Death Valley because there was an air of confidence in him and his parents were rather, I thought, overly confident. (Laughs) So it was like as if he just came off leading a picture. They weren’t insecure. He probably learned a lot on that film.

    He has very similar glasses and that same little list in Death Valley that he has in A Christmas Story. It’s adorable.

    Exactly. I remember we were both from the area – Phoenix was their hometown as well, so we had that in common.

    I was watching the film again recently and it’s coming out on this Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, which is great, but it’s so strange to see this film (and I don’t know when the last time you’ve seen it) today because it’s completely un-PC, by today’s standards, in the way that it treats the divorce situation. It’s kind of a universal situation with Billy not liking his mother’s new guy, but the way that Mike tries to win his affections (and the way he gets annoyed with Billy so incredibly easily), I can’t see that ever working on the screen nowadays. Do you feel like there’s a way they could ever make Death Valley now or do you think it’s completely a product of its time?

    Oh, that’s so funny. You mean because Mike gets ticked off at the boy for not liking him.

    Yeah, in the first two minutes or so of meeting him in the car.

    I think that’s a comic thread. I think they’d still do it to this day because it’s still true. You can say politically correct on paper, but the fact is that it’s human beings and I know it’s still a problem for kids and for step-dads. They might sugarcoat it now, but I think it’s more realistic our way.

    It does feel more genuine and honest that way, absolutely. In a way, it’s like Mike has to become this superhero to win over this little boy, which is what he does.

    Oh, interesting! That’s neat.

    He goes from being a villain in the beginning to being a hero.

    That’s really neat. I wonder if the writer intended that.

    I assume probably not. (Laughs) But I’m glad that’s the way it worked out because I think it makes Death Valley a better film if you view it through that scope.

    You said you grew up in the area where you filmed Death Valley so you were pretty familiar with it. What was it like out there filming?

    Yeah, I grew up in Scottsdale in the desert. It’s just a wasteland. That house was creepy though. You know, in the desert there are so many nuts that build stone houses. The desert seems to attract eccentrics and loners. That rock house we shot in just creeped me out. That always creeps me out, people who go way out somewhere. I think people that seek wilderness solitude are kind of curious.

    FEARNET: It’s that isolation, and that’s a part of what I think makes Stephen’s performance so good as well. He seems so isolated, like he’s cut off from the world.

    CH: Yeah, and that’s pathetic. And, yet, I like him because he has a bit in pathos. I think you just look at his face and you feel sorry for him. He’s got those quiet eyes.

    FEARNET: Was it just as hot and sweaty out there as it looks on film?

    CH: We did it in December so it was delightful.

    FEARNET: You’ve done your fair share of horror films, or films with some very dark elements in them, throughout your career. Were you a fan of the genre before or was this something that you just kind of fell into?

    Oh, no. I wasn’t a fan. I didn’t know anything about horror until I met my husband [Kevin Yagher], who created Chucky, and I, for the first time, heard a justification or a purpose for horror films. He’d created the special effects makeup for Freddy Krueger and the Crypt Keeper, but I met him on the first Child’s Play film. He told me that it’s a safe ride. People love to be scared and a horror film is a safe way to do that. You know, dolls don’t come to life. I think serial killing horror movies are more terrifying because they exist, but horror films are like a release for people. We’re all afraid in life. Life is scary, and this is a great way to get it out.

    So you have this film like Death Valley that has this amazing little cult following that loves the film and then you go on to play Karen in Child’s Play, a film and franchise that’s become part of the horror movie lexicon over the last two decades. Did you ever imagine that the movie about a killer doll would be such a long-lasting hit?

    No, not at all. I’m like a trained actress from New York on Broadway; I always look at the role, but I had an ego and I wanted to be famous and make money too. I confess. I’m not just an “artist,” you know? I’m sort of a whore sometimes. (Laughs) It was a big role, Child’s Play, and I liked the role. If it’s drama and it’s big, I’ll go for it. To work with Chris Sarandon… A lot of scenes were cut that were all about me and my son and my husband. So, if a role is chunky I really look at it because I like to carry a picture, or be in it a lot.

    What was it like working with that Chucky doll in a time when just about everything had to be practical. CGI was still in its infancy.

    Oh, God! There were twelve puppeteers. It was fascinating! For Kevin [Yagher] it was a huge job for him, a huge task, and a huge responsibility. I mean, the mechanics for this were crazy. They were on a trolley under the floor of the living room and there were many, many dolls. All different types. Rod puppets, and then the animatronics, which took twelve guys to operate. One for the mouth. One for the left ear. You get the idea. Sometimes when they’d say “cut,” Chucky would still be alive. I will forever prefer that to CGI. To me, CGI is drawing and motion pictures are things in time and space. I think it’s much neater. It’s like another genre. To me, it becomes animation. Puppets are primal. Punch and Judy, you know. To this day my husband can make a sock talk and it’s pretty basic. People love it.

    Do you feel like you would ever come back to the series? They’ve been working on another one, of course, and there’s been talk of a Child’s Play reboot or remake for years now. Does something like that interest you at this point in your career?

    Sure, yeah, but they wouldn’t ask. (Laughs) I’ve learned, in everything, that each film has different producers and directors and they want to do their own thing. They’re usually very reluctant to do anything like bringing on previous actor’s on to the new one – except the doll, of course. (Laughs)

    Well, I know Brad Dourif is back, which is great. You can’t have Chucky without Brad, right?

    No, absolutely not. I love Brad. He’s the best.

    Do you feel like your work with Peter [Billingsley] on Death Valley prepared you for your work with Alex [Vincent] on Child’s Play?

    Yeah, for sure, because I wasn’t a mom until way later and I’m telling you, I can spot it now in an actress. When you haven’t had a child, unless you grew up with a lot of kids around you, it’s just not believable. It’s really hard to play a mom convincingly. We had to do a lot of improv and become really buddies for Child’s Play. I haven’t seen Death Valley in a while so I don’t know if I come off as a real mom.

    I think you do. I think you and Peter are great together.

    Oh, good. Well that’s a testament to personal chemistry and maybe acting ability because it wasn’t in my comfort zone yet.

    I think a whole new group of people will be able to see that when this Blu-ray comes out as well.

    I love that this film is alive and validated. You spend two months of your life in something and then you just assume if it wasn’t a hit that it will die. I love that about life nowadays. Things don’t die.

    You can see Catherine Hicks as “Sally” in Death Valley when the Collector’s Edition Blu-ray & DVD Combo Pack hit stores on December 11.


     


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    The new Silent Night from director Steven C. Miller is a “loose” remake of the 1984 cult classic Silent Night, Deadly Night. Both deal with a deranged killer who dresses as Santa before ho-ho-ho-ing the hell out of his hapless victims. We chatted with Miller about the differences between the two Silent Nights and why this is a film for the horror community.

    How did you get involved in Silent Night?

    Silent Night, Deadly Night was a huge thing for me growing up. It was a fun movie when I was little. When I grew up and got out here and made my first movie, the guy who was a huge part of buying that movie was Richard Saperstein. At the time they were playing around with the idea of a Silent Night, Deadly Night remake so I gave them my pitch and they liked it but it just sort of fell apart. That was like three years ago. About a year ago, Richard called me and said he had left the Weinstein Company, but he had taken Silent Night with him and he had a script and wanted me to read it. He thought I would be great to do this movie. I read it, I really liked it, and thought I could really do some fun things with it.

    This is a “loose remake.” Why keep it “loose?”

    I think because, number one, I’m not a huge remake fan. For me, if I’m going to do a movie, I don’t want to do the same movie that was done in 1980. I don’t want to do a shot-for-shot remake. I want to do something people haven’t seen, give the killer some new life... give the movie some new life for a new audience - but still show that I am a huge fan of the original, that I am in on the joke. I love those movies. Here are some great scenes that are some homages to the original; here are some great one-liners from the sequel. [The original] is one of those movies  that isn’t the most amazing thing ever. I thought it could do with a redo and punch up the ante on it a little bit.

    One of the biggest departures from the original was that in your version, the killer never speaks, whereas in the original, he has a... I don’t want to call it a “quip,” but he says “Punish” during every kill. What was the thought process behind that?

    Originally, he did speak, quite a bit. There was so much dark humor going on in the movie that I thought to balance that, you needed a very serious tone from our killer - a very menacing tone. Every time he began to talk, I thought, “This doesn’t feel as menacing as it should.” I wanted to make sure he had that mystique. I am a huge fan of slasher films from the 1980s, and the best don’t talk. The best do it with their looks and their actions and their movements. I wanted to infuse that into his DNA and try to give him something new and different.

    He actually does have that one line at the end of the movie, where he says, “Not nice.” It was originally “Punish,” but that was changed without my knowledge. I didn’t even know about that change until it was too late. That one is a little disappointing for me, because I had that in there for the fans, and they changed it for whatever reason. But at the end of the day, I felt like it kept him more menacing.

    They didn’t tell you why they changed that one line?

    No, it was one of those things where they just decided to change it. What could I say? The movie was already being put to wherever it was going. They allowed me to do so much in the movie that I wanted to do that fighting for that didn’t seem worth it. I had already fought to keep with killing a kid in the movie; I fought for this crazy chase sequence and someone in a wood chipper. Things like that that I felt like this audience would really have fun with. You’ve just got to pick your battles.

    Do you feel like the executives you deal with - not just on this film, but all of them - don’t really “get” the horror genre?

    For sure. There are definitely some producers and executives that don’t get it. But the thing about being a filmmaker is, you get to pick the people you work with. For me, that’s important. Working with a genre company like Anchor Bay - these guys get horror. They love horror movies. They understand them and know how to make them. For me it was pretty fun because every idea I threw out, they were like, “That’s crazy! Yeah, let’s try it!” So I had a lot of fun on this movie because they do get it. But I think there is a lot of friction out there with producers who just don’t get it. I think that’s where you miss out. You lose that charm. You need to accept that there really is a certain audience for these kinds of films, and you have to cater to them.

    They are a pretty fanatical base.

    Yes! They are. They’re very picky. And I think that is why I love the horror genre, because it is a family community. When they like something, they get behind it and will push very hard, and that was the goal: to get them to like this movie.

    What has the reaction been so far?

    So far, from what I am getting on Facebook and Twitter and even Rotten Tomatoes, people are loving the movie. Even you guys gave it a great review. People are really digging it. They get the tone I was going for, and I just don’t think there are enough of these kinds of movies. People are crying out for holiday slashers, so I think that is something we are going to try to keep giving them.

    Does that mean you are already preparing a sequel for next season?

    In my head I am! Does the studio want to do it? We’ll see. But I am 100% on board to get this thing going.

    The film is getting an extremely limited theatrical release - like eight theaters - before going to DVD and blu-ray. What can you tell us about that distribution model?

    It’s a little unfortunate for this movie.I think this movie had the potential to be out there and go wide. Just from the poster alone - I think if you walked up to a theater and didn’t know what to see, but you saw that poster, you’d think, “Okay, I want to see that movie.” It’s unfortunate that this film didn’t get the release it should have, but that goes back to economics, especially at smaller places like Anchor Bay. They just don’t have the funds right now to put it out like that. At least they enjoyed the movie enough to try to get it out there. The blu-ray and DVD is just a smart way for them to make some money so we can go out and do another one. Maybe if we can get a cult following on this one, and people are crying out for another one, next year we can go big and open wide for the sequel.

    And it makes a great stocking stuffer!

    It does make a great stocking stuffer! I’m sure any family member would enjoy it - assuming they are not like under 13.

    I don’t know, I saw the original Silent Night, Deadly Night when I was about 11 or 12 and I grew up fine.

    [Laughs.] I say that all the time to my wife! My daughter is two, and when we were editing the movie, my wife was always covering her eyes or sending her into another room.

    What is it about the horror genre that draws you to it?

    I love the people involved. I think the fans are so great. I think it is the reactions you get. There is something about giving people something to react to; having fun with the emotion of fear and tension and humor. In horror movies, you get to do all of that. You have this license to do whatever you want. It’s not like a drama where there is a [tonal] formula you have to stick to. With horror movies, you can do your own thing and create your own world, and if it is done well enough, people will accept it.

    A lot of horror fans would say that horror films themselves are very formulaic. Do you find the better ones not to be formulaic?

    Yeah. When you look at something like Silent Night that has the formulaic sensibilities, where it separates itself is with atmosphere. Being able to create a movie that looks like a movie, something cinematically shot... I am a huge fan of that. With this generation, you have to look at what the movies look like now: found footage and Handi-Cam and “let’s make it look as real as possible.” That’s not really “horror” to me. Horror, to me, is watching Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street. I think the generation that is coming up now is going to be very interesting. You are going to be able to show them something like Silent Night, with all these practical effects, and it will be so intense for them because they are used to seeing CG. The practical becomes very real for them, and maybe even more terrifying than it was for us. I’m interested in seeing how that plays out.

    Do you think the reliance on CG in horror films is dragging it down for you?

    Yeah. I think it is hindering the creativity of filmmakers. If you can sit there and say, “We can fix that later,” or “Let’s just do that some other time, we’ll get a guy to draw it up on a screen,” I think you are losing the idea of what these movies were about: being there, in the moment, building things with your bare hands, from scratch, with friends. There is something about getting that blood splatter on screen that is so visceral and so real. It was important for me that this movie embodied that completely. 

    I think visual effects and CG are a 100% great tool for enhancement. If you need to clean some things up, or enhance them, then sure. But building it from scratch I think should be done the right way.

    Silent Night is currently playing in a handful of theaters nationwide. It comes to DVD and blu-ray on December 4th.


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    UK retailer Connoisseur has created the coolest hat ever. Their "Overlook" hat is designed after the iconic carpet in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. I am a little bit in awe over how cool this hat is. Unfortunately, it is not yet available for sale. The site says "Coming in December." Well, it's December - and I want one!

    Equally as cool, but slightly less iconic is Connoisseur's Twin Peaks-inspired "Black Lodge" hat.

    I'm buying one of each.


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    Did Guillermo del Toro clone himself? His ever-growing list of projects seems like too much work for one man.

    Hot on the heals of news about The Strain, Pacific Rim, Frankenstein, and The Haunted Mansion, Deadline announced del Toro has a new project in the works and it sounds awesome. He’ll be directing Crimson Peak, a homage to the classic ghost stories of his youth with a modern update. He hopes to honor the “grand dames” of classic haunted tales.

    “To me that is Robert Wise’s The Haunting, which was a big movie, beautifully directed, with the house built magnificently. And the other grand daddy is Jack Clayton’s The Innocents. I’ve always tried to make big-sized horror movies like the ones I grew up watching,” del Toro told Deadline. “Films like The Omen, The Exorcist and The Shining, the latter of which is another Mount Everest of the haunted house movie. I loved the way that Kubrick had such control over the big sets he used, and how much big production value there was. I think people are getting used to horror subjects done as found footage or B-value budgets. I wanted this to feel like a throwback.”

    The director said this project has been a long-time in the making, it was the first thing he wrote after Pan’s Labyrinth, and he originally planned to work with Universal on the film. He will work on a rewrite of his original script with Lucinda Coxon and Legendary will produce the film. It’s set for an early 2014 production start.

    For the Lovecraft fans out there, all hope is not lost for At The Mountains Of Madness. Del Toro said he’s hoping that after this project is complete, Legendary will take up the banner.

    via Deadline


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