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FEARNET.com News and Reviews

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    Rewind back to the 80s, a beautiful decade to be a horror movie fanatic here in the UK – a quick trip to your local VHS rental store would be a day out in itself – any store worth its salt would have a horror section hidden away at the back much like a dark, dirty little secret. Some of the films on display would be of such questionable quality that they would have no choice but to fall back on the strength of the  cover art alone – Just take Charles Band’s Ghoulies as exhibit A. Others were so proud of their visual effects set -pieces that their lead monster would be up there on the cover in all it’s screaming glory for the world to see, if they wanted to or not. Here is a misty- eyed toast to the past and a brief run-down of what we think were some of the more memorable and effective 80's monster movie cover art to ever grace the front of a VHS cassette.

    The Evil Dead VHS Cover

    THE EVIL DEAD
    Release Date :1981
    Distributor:  NEW LINE CINEMA

    ABOUT THE MOVIE:
    Hard to believe that Sam Raimi’s tale of rampant possession and demon slaying  was once terrorizing conservative British media way back in the day,  eventually leading to being  condemned to video nasty blacklists to rot in video purgatory. A group of teens unwittingly summon an ancient evil that threatens to devour them one by one – easily one of the majorly seminal titles in modern American horror movie history.

    WHY WE LOVE IT:
    The go to movie poster choice for horror aficionados looking to decorate their bedroom wall. Rich in colour and gritty detail you can almost feel, this is a fine example of cover art done right by Graham Humpreys , the man responsible for some of the finest poster art in horror. The image of deadite Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss) would later be echoed in a homage for the cover art of Rob Zombie’s ‘Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales Of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside The Spookshow International’.  The ‘ultimate experience in gruelling terror’ tagline is now stuff of legend.

    Basket Case VHS Cover

    BASKET CASE
    Release Date: 1982
    Distributor: ANALYSIS FILM RELEASING CORPORATION


    ABOUT THE MOVIE:
    Frank Henenlotter’s ultra low budget creature feature about a pair of reluctantly separated Siamese twins on a gore soaked vendetta against the surgeons who parted them quickly became a midnight movie favourite.
     

    WHY WE LOVE IT:
    Original theatrical posters wanted to tease you with a mere black and white glimpse of the murderous Belial peering from inside the basket, the tagline screaming ‘The tenant in room 7 is very small, very twisted and very mad.’

    Ghoulies VHS Cover

    GHOULIES
    Release Date: 1985

    Distributor: EMPIRE PICTURES

    ABOUT THE MOVIE: 
    Will eighties teenagers ever learn? After one of their group decides it would be a blast to halt a decent night of drinking to toy with black magic in the basement, setting loose a band of spritely nasties known as Ghoulies.

    WHY WE LOVE IT:
    If you’ve ever walked the floors of your local VHS store and thrown a glance over at the horror section then you probably would have discovered this one, the image of a cheeky little Ghoulie protruding ominously from some unlucky soul’s toilet. Shame the actual film fails to live up to the cover art.

    From Beyons VHS Cover
     

    FROM BEYOND
    Release Date: 1986

    Distributor: EMPIRE PICTURES

    ABOUT THE MOVIE:

    Stuart Gordon’s follow up effort to Re-Animator reteams Combs and Crampton for a darkly gothic body horror adapted from another H.P. Lovecraft story, boasting some of the more impressive creature effects of the eighties.  Crawford Tillinghast (Combs) assists his mentor Edward Pretorius (Ted Forel) in constructing the Resonator, a machine that activates the human pineal gland, allowing them to see a reality beyond ours.

    WHY WE LOVE IT:
    This one just screams body –horror with Ted Forel’s face melting off into the infinite. Another fine piece of cover-art that we don’t doubt gave many a kiddie who was unfortunate enough to get a glimpse many a restless night. Truly horrific.


     

    PUMPKINHEAD
    Release Date: 1988

    Distributor: UNITED ARTISTS

    ABOUT THE FILM: 
    After his son is killed by a gang of careless high school kids, Ed Harley enlists the aid of a local witch to summon a ghastly vengeance demon known only as ‘Pumpkinhead’. A pretty impressive main beastie designed by the late great Stan Winston himself.

    WHY WE LOVE IT:
    Despite having a pretty decent main beastie designed by director Stan Winston to show off to the horror masses, it’s surprisingly the old witch that takes the cover star spot for this European version of the VHS release. One of the golden examples of old school make-up effects way before CGI came and ruined it all.

    Killer Klowns From Outer Space VHS Cover

    KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE
    Release Date: 1988

    Distributor: TRANS WORLD ENTERTAINMENT

    ABOUT THE FILM:
    It’s a vast universe with unlimited possibilities, so it stands to reason that if there is intelligent life out there, they could very well resemble evil clowns. Right?...Right? The Chiodo brother’s zany live action horror cartoon about killer aliens armed with candy floss and pop-corn guns had it’s tongue firmly in cheek but still managed to bring a whole new level of freaky.

    WHY WE LOVE IT:
    Just take one look at it. If you think your kids are scared of clowns already, just whip this poster past their faces and it’ll save you plenty of cash on future birthday parties until they’re eighteen.

    Slugs VHS Cover
     

    SLUGS
    Release Date: 1988

    Distributor: NEW WORLD PICTURES

    ABOUT THE FILM:
    Another sure fire way to find yourself up to your eyeballs in mutated beasties –the age old folly of spilled toxic waste – an age old monster movie trope. A huge strain of evil black slugs descend on a small rural town. They’re highly intelligent, capable of carrying you away and have developed teeth capable of taking your fingers off.


    WHY WE LOVE IT:
    Giant. Freaking. Slugs. Need we say more?

    Little Shop of Horror VHS

    LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
    Release Date: 1986

    Distributor: WARNER BROS

    ABOUT THE FILM:
    While some of you out there may argue that Frank Oz’s kooky musical romp isn’t fit to lick Dr Frank N Furter’s leather clad feet, there can be no denying the impact this had on the genre during it’s VHS run. Rick Moranis starts as Seymour Krelborn, a lonely shop worker at Mushnik’s flower store who happens upon a stange looking Venus fly trap whom he names ‘Audrey 2’.  Cue murder and mayhem as Seymour sets out to tend to his new plants disturbing taste for human blood. Amazing appearance from Steve Martin in gloriously goofy form as Audrey’s abusive boyfriend. The film would go on to spawn an animated series.

    WHY WE LOVE IT:
    That iconic image of ‘Audrey 2’ wrapping her tentacles around the main cast in a classic 50s drive-in monster movie pop art homage.

    The Monster Squad VHS Cover

    THE MONSTER SQUAD
    Release Date: 1987

    Distributor: TRI STAR PICTURES

    ABOUT THE FILM:
    Co-written by Shane Black and directed by Fred Dekker, The Monster Squad is pretty much The Goonies versus the Universal Monsters. A gang of high schoolers take on Dracula, The Mummy, Wolfman and Gil-man in a battle that will determine the future of all mankind. Must been seen for Tom Noonan’s stand out performance as Frakenstein’s monster.

    WHY WE LOVE IT: ‘You know who to call when you have ghosts but who do you call when you have monsters?’ Stan Winston’s marvellous take on the classic Universal villains designs looming behind the titular squad, who are all perched on a damn sexy Cadillac...what’s not to love? Sure beats the hell out of the recent dvd release cover, anway.

    Puppet Master VHS Cover

    PUPPET MASTER
    Release Date : 1989

    Distributor:  FULL MOON PRODUCTIONS/ PARAMOUNT

    ABOUT THE FILM:
    A case of puppets are brought to life by Egyptian black magic in this Charles Band scripted cult classic.  Released a year after Child’s Play, capitalizing on the subsequent fear of creepy ass dolls.  Cheesy, fun-size classic horror with a cameo from stellar scream queen Barbara Crampton.

    WHY WE LOVE IT:
    Seemingly innocent puppets all arranged in a beautiful display case – Wait, is that a power drill on that puppet’s head? Imagine a Punch And Judy show conducted by Satan himself and it would probably look alot like this.


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    Joseph MorganReady for more Klaus? The Vampire Diaries showrunner Julie Plec is. She has not made secret her love of Joseph Morgan's vampire Klaus. Klaus may now get his own show.

    Deadline is reporting that the upcoming April 25th episode of The Vampire Diaries will be a backdoor pilot for a new series that would be titled The Originals. A backdoor pilot is used when producers want to give a character from an existing show a spin-off show. It is built into the existing season as a regular episode that focuses on the spin-off character. This allows producers to use the budget and resources of the successful show without interrupting their production schedule, and drawing in an already devout fanbase.

    The Originals would focus on Klaus and his family, the original clan of vampires. It will be set in New Orleans's French Quarter and bring his "diabolical former protege Marcel." Phoebe Tonkin's werewolf character, Hayley, would also join The Originals. If the episode goes well and a series order is picked up, it will air in the 2013-2014 season.


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

    The Strain Comic Book CoverThe Strain No. 10
    Things are not going well in New York City and the outer boroughs. A strain of "vampirism" has broken out big time, and a rag tag group of survivors attempts to investigate and find their loved ones. This issue has them tussling with "the master" and it alludes to an even bigger fight with the big baddie next issue. All in all the big apple has had a huge bite taken out of it, and the chaos is only just ramping up.

    Bag it or board it up?
    I'll admit, I'm coming into this series a little late. Horror/genre mainstay Guillermo del Toro is currently casting for the FX pilot of this comic, and it would be cool to see it get the "Walking Dead" treatment. The vampires in this are vile, with humongous slithering tongues that they use to decimate their victims. This is one of those classic "ramp up" issues that kind of drive me crazy, but hopefully issue 11 will be so full of high action that we'll forgive the "let's level up before we go to the boss fight" feel of this one.

    B.P.R.D. Comic Book CoverB.P.R.D. Hell On Earth: The Abyss of Time No. 1
    Taking place before the events of the wonderful Return of the Master run of this comic, The Abyss follows a group of B.P.R.D. agents as they investigate an old abandoned Chicago warehouse. Once inside, the group finds remnants of an ancient secret society. When one of the agents touches an old sword relic, he passes out. And we cut to the ancient past (?) where a confused warrior (who looks similar to our passed out agent) learns the history of the famous sword he possesses.

    Bag it or board it up?
    If I keep on loving these Hell on Earth comics, are you all going to think I'm in Mignola's pocket? I'm not! I swear! But hot shit, this is one good series. The huge change in time period and setting are a nice palate cleanse after the death and decimation of Return. I'm a sucker for fantasy, and this has ancient sword and sorcery written all over it. Keep it coming, guys and girls, I can't get enough.

    Ghost Comic Book CoverGhost No. 3
    The titular Ghost of Ghost has finally unlocked some clues as to who she is and where she's from. With that, we see Dr. October begin a ritual to welcome another evil "traveller" into the world. Cut to flashbacks of Ghost's past life, and we have a clue as to where this comic is headed. Not much else happens in this issue, but for fans of the lore of Ghost there's a lot going on here.

    Bag it or board it up?
    I feel like this series is kind of losing steam! Oh no! It was so fun in the beginning, but as the mystery of who Ghost really is unfolds, it all feels a little lack luster. It's like Twin Peaks post-reveal of Laura's killer. The action in this issue is nonexistent, but the artwork is still beautiful. And now that Ghost knows who to go after, the comic itself may course-correct a bit.

    Mars Attacks KISS Comic Book CoverMars Attacks KISS
    The evil martians come to Earth to destroy the planet, but The Elder (a spirit the hovers in space) calls upon the powers of KISS (yes, KISS, the band) to save us all. Unfortunately, the martians gain the powers of the rock band from outer space and use them to tear apart "the big city." A battle inside the minds of the martians take place as the elemental forces of KISS battle the martians, and then the human versions of kiss battle the martians, and then, oh, I don't know…

    Bag it or board it up?
    This comic makes me want to never rock and roll all night or party every day ever again. I don't know how to summarize this comic, except to say that it's completely insane and weird and dumb. Is it trying to be funny? Is it trying to be irreverent? It's neither. Maybe if you really love Mars Attacks and you really love KISS you'll really love this comic. If so, please stay away from me, you're probably a creepy dude or gal.


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    Capcom and Ninja Theory are returning to the demon-hunting franchise Devil May Cry with the raucous reboot DmC Devil May Cry, which casts the sarcastic son of Sparda in a new light.  Join us for the next 4 days as we discuss Devil May Cry, both old and new, leading up to the game’s release.

    With any reboot, there will always be discussion of the previous iteration, and what elements have been carried over and what elements have been changed.  With the last game, Devil May Cry 4, being released less than 5 years ago, there will be many comparisons between the previous franchise and DmC.  Let’s check out the characters as we know them from Devil May Cry.

    Dante

    The white-haired proprietor of Devil May Cry, Dante has dedicated his life to hunting down the wicked demons that he blames for the death of his mother, Eva, and the corruption of his twin brother Vergil.  He boasts enhanced abilities and senses due to his half-demonic heritage, borne of a human mother and the renegade demon Sparda.  The most prominent of his character traits is his brash, boastful attitude, openly mocking his foes before slaughtering them with his trademark sword Rebellion and his twin pistols Ebony and Ivory.

    Vergil

    The cold and calculating yin to Dante’s over-the-top yang, Vergil is the diametric opposite of his twin brother Dante.  Vergil, unlike Dante, takes pride in his demonic bloodline and lusts for more power no matter what the cost.  Vergil relies almost exclusively on his sword, Yamato, all but refusing to use guns like his brother as he feels they aren’t the weapon of a true warrior.  Vergil is corrupted by the demon king Mundus at the end of Devil May Cry 3, becoming Mundus’ puppet as Nelo Angelo.

    Mundus

    The main antagonist of the first Devil May Cry, Mundus attempted an invasion of the human realm only to be stopped by one of his generals, the Dark Knight Sparda.  Demanding revenge, Mundus sent his demon armies to slaughter Eva, Sparda’s human lover and the mother of Dante and Vergil, which birthed Dante’s burning hatred of demons.

    There were several other characters from the original series that, as of now, have not been revealed to be in DmC, including Dante’s partner Trish, the mercenary Lady, and the enigmatic Nero.  How, or if, they figure into the new universe remains to be seen.

    Join us tomorrow for Countdown to DmC - Day 2: Same Characters, New Universe, right here at FEARnet!


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    William Castle pioneered the promotional movie gimmick in the 1950s and 1960s. He began by working on Broadway before heading to Hollywood to produce and direct “respectable” projects, including producing on Rosemary’s Baby and working as assistant director to Orson Welles. A showman at heart, Castle modeled himself after P.T. Barnum by turning his films into spectacles. He didn’t have movie premieres; he had “screamieres.” The stunts often overshadowed the cheap, shlocky movies they were promoting. Below is a primer to five of Castle’s most bonkers stunts.

    the tinglerThe Tingler (1959)

    Perhaps Castle’s most infamous and ambitious gimmick was for his film The Tingler. Filmed in “Percepto,” (another gimmick - the movie wasn’t shot in any special way) The Tingler was about an alien creature that would take up residency in your spine, and could only be killed by screaming. Towards the end of the film, the creature “gets loose” in the theater. Some theaters had seats that had been rigged to vibrate at random once the tingler was “loose,” which yielded shocked and surprised screams from moviegoers. Castle’s Tingler gimmick was the inspiration for Joe Dante’s 1993 film Matinee.

     

     

    house on haunted hill

    House on Haunted Hill (1959)

    One of Castle’s more absurd stunts, House on Haunted Hill was filmed in “Emergo.” All this meant was that, during the film, an inflatable glow-in-the-dark skeleton would zoom into the audience on ropes. It scared some, but it inspired many others to throw their concessions at it.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    macabreMacabre (1958)

    Macabre was the first example of Castle’s showmanship. He convinced famous insurer Lloyd’s of London to make out an insurance policy for $1000 for every person in the United States. The policy would only pay out if you died of fright during Macabre. Lloyd’s of London didn’t see this as just another movie stunt, so they insisted on provisions against people who had preexisting conditions or committed suicide during a show (sounds like the insurance policies of today.) To be on the safe side, nurses had a visible presence in theater lobbies, and there was always a hearse parked outside. Lloyd’s of London never had to pay out on the policies.

     

     

     

     

    13 ghosts13 Ghosts (1960)

    An ambitious stunt, 13 Ghosts was filmed in “Illusion-O,” which actually was a special film process (sort of). Audience members were given ghost viewers/removers that were essentially like the old red and blue 3D glasses. Looking through one color would “reveal” the ghosts, while looking through the other would hide the ghosts if you were too scared.

     

     

    mr. sardonicusMr. Sardonicus (1961)

    In Mr. Sardonicus, the titular character digs up his father’s grave to obtain a winning lottery ticket. In his glee, his face freezes in a grotesque smile. The film would then “stop” so that Castle himself could come onto the screen and offer the “punishment poll.” Audiences would be given glow in the dark thumb-shaped cards which they would use to decide Sardonicus’s fate: a cure, or a gruesome death. A slightly different version was created for the drive-in, in which audiences could vote using their car headlights. Rumor has is that the cure ending was never screened - no audience ever gave Sardonicus a reprieve. 


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    fringeFringe Episode 511
    “The Boy Must Live”
    Written By: Graham Roland
    Directed By: Paul Holahan
    Original Airdate: 11 January 2012

    In This Episode...

    Walter thinks he remembers more of what Michael showed him. He goes into the sensory deprivation tank and remembers being in an apartment with Donald / September. Astrid pinpoints the location based off Walter’s description of what he sees out the window, and Walter, Olivia, Peter, and Michael head to that apartment, and sure enough, they find Donald there. (As far as I’m concerned, if he has hair, he is Donald. If he doesn’t, he is September.) He is surprised - but very pleased - to see them.

    So here is what we have all been waiting for: some background on the Observers. On February 20th, 2167, Swedish scientists figured that if they rewired the brain to no longer feel jealousy, they could cram some more intelligence in there. It worked, so they began removing other “negative” emotions and replacing them with more intelligence. But humanity lost perspective and soon began replacing even good emotions in the pursuit of more intelligence. What we were left with was the Observers. Michael was “born” generations after those damn Swedes began monkeying with genetics - and he came from September’s genetic material. September was apprehended by the Observers before the invasion (I guess on some alternate timeline... I try not to over think that aspect) for being a traitor and messing with the timeline too much. His tech was removed and his “punishment” was that he had to live like a “regular” person (basically, he can no longer move through time.) The plan to stop the invasion was to bring Michael to the Swedish scientists and show that both emotions and intelligence can survive in enormous amounts within a single person. That way if the Observers don’t evolve, they will not exist, and there will be no invasion. Olivia is hopeful that this will allow her and Peter to have Etta back.

    While all this is going on, Windmark goes back to the future: 2609, which is where the Observers are “from.” He has a meeting with the Commander, where he asks for permission to go back in time to eradicate “the fugitives.” The Commander checks the probabilities, deems them insignificant, and denies the request. Windmark is the Observer equivalent of not being happy - and he doesn’t know what he is experiencing. Returning to 2036, Windmark continues his vendetta, and tracks September’s GPS chip. They arrive at his apartment, but everyone is gone. Evidence that the tracker had been removed lays in the sink.

    Donald, Michael, Walter, Olivia, and Peter are on the move. In addition to the pieces Fringe has been recovering according to the tapes, they need some tech from September’s time in order to send Michael through time. He hid it away and they go retrieve it from a storage facility. When Donald and Walter have a moment alone, he admits that Michael showed him something he hasn’t told the others: Walter needs to sacrifice himself for this plan to work. Donald says that when they came up with this plan, Walter insisted that he be the one sacrificed, as a way of making amends for his other wrongdoings. As they are leaving, they see roadblocks and checkpoints being set up. A call to Astrid confirms that they are surrounded, but they might have a chance if they can make it to the monorail. They split up: Liv and Michael as an innocent mother and son; Walter and Peter as two unassuming men. Liv and Michael make it onto the monorail with little fuss. Peter and Walter have to wait a little longer, but eventually make it. Loyalists are combing the station, so Peter and Walter duck into the nearest car, planning to meet Liv and Michael once the train is underway. Just as the doors are closing, Michael steps out onto the platform. The loyalists collect him without incident, leaving a frantic Olivia and confused Peter and Walter. The loyalists bring Michael to Windmark.

    And frustratingly, this is where we end. I think Michael has his own, better plan to defeat the Observers. 

    Dig It or Bury It?

    I hate hate hate to get sappy, but damn, I am going to cry when this show ends. Tonight’s episode was very emotional, most notably for a very touching scene between Peter and Walter. Peter is concerned because Walter is acting way too happy AND functioning far better than normal. Michael gave him back memories and emotions long forgotten: the day Peter took him out of St. Claire’s; the time Peter accidentally called him Dad; the terror he felt when Peter stepped into the machine. They embrace so tightly and happily that it didn’t even feel like Walter and Peter; it felt like John Noble and Josh Jackson saying their goodbyes. 

    So here is the problem with Donald’s plan. If you send Michael forward in time and prevent the evolution that would lead to the Observers, they wouldn’t invade - which means that Etta wouldn’t be kidnapped, and Olivia and Peter can have their happy family. But correct me if I’m wrong... but wasn’t it September who saved Peter from drowning as a child? So if the Observers don’t exist, wouldn’t Peter drown? He and Olivia would never meet, have Etta, yadda yadda yadda. Unless this has something to do with alternate timelines, which is something I still can’t quite wrap my mind around (I am only now getting the hang of time travel.) 

    I also think this episode suggested that no matter what kind of science you use to remove human emotion, we are supposed to have it, and evolution will eventually figure out a way to put it back in. In tonight’s episode, Donald / September said that, watching fathers and sons interact caused a “stirring” in him, which led to him donating his genetic material. It could have been an anomaly at the genetic level - after all, Michael retained his emotions. But then Windmark starts to feel emotions: he cannot understand why he is so consumed with the idea of catching “the fugitives.” He obviously hasn’t moved past emotions. And even one of his goons was caught tapping his foot in time to some music discovered in Donald’s apartment. So maybe instead of just outright ceasing the creation of the Observers as we know them, and instead using Michael as a guide map to creating hybrids, we can still have Observers who save Peter, but who don’t invade, thus saving Etta.

    Walter Babble

    Walter is in the deprivation tank, ready to go. Olivia opens up the hatch and discovers that Walter is free balling. She is mortified, yet at the same time she can’t be too surprised. Walter is always wandering around naked. He explains that he must be totally free. She asks if he is ready. He is - and throws his wet swim trunks at her.

    Prophecies?

    Two hours left. That’s it. I am not ready. I already miss these characters.


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    Capcom and Ninja Theory are returning to the demon-hunting franchise Devil May Cry with the raucous reboot DmC Devil May Cry, which casts the sarcastic son of Sparda in a new light.  Join us for the next 4 days as we discuss Devil May Cry, both old and new, leading up to the game’s release.

    We’ve already spent Day 1 as a quick refresher course on the original anthology’s cast of characters, and today you’ll better understand why.  Ninja Theory has taken an interesting angle on Capcom’s well-known and well-loved characters, injecting them into a new universe with new rules and new threats to overcome.  This is certainly not the Devil May Cry you know, but it’s definitely got an interesting flavor all its own.

    Dante

    Losing the white hair and the business sense, Dante is now a rebellious young man who is blessed and cursed with the mantle of a Nephilim—the product of a demonic father and angelic mother. He is blessed, because he boasts the heightened abilities and weapons of both his supernatural parents; cursed, because he’s also one of the few people that can see the truth behind the demonic forces that have subjugated the human race. He quickly goes from careless rabble-rouser to fearless freedom fighter upon his invitation to The Order, the anti-establishment movement started by…

    Vergil

    Dante’s twin brother from whom he was separated after the death of their mother, Vergil has taken the fight to the demons with The Order, the movement he leads behind a grinning silver mask. Much like the previous games in the series, Vergil is the emotional opposite of Dante, conducting himself in a calm, orderly fashion in the face of insurmountable odds, while Dante throws himself headfirst into the fray. He is helped in his systematic takedown of the demon regime by…

    Kat

    Little is known about Vergil’s mysterious ward Kat, a hoodie-wearing witch who uses her ability of astral projection to assist Dante on his trek through the demonic dimension of Limbo. While her appearance in Limbo is ghostly, her invaluable assistance and magical knowledge makes her more than just an apparition.

    Mundus

    The leader of the powerful demon regime, Mundus has incalculable power, both literal and political. He uses the Raptor News Network and the mysterious energy drink Virility to subjugate the human populace, while wearing a human mask to maintain the ruse.

    Join us tomorrow for Countdown to DmC Day 3 – New Ways to Kill, New Ways to Die right here at FEARnet!

    Missed yesterday’s article?  You can check it out here!


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    Capcom and Ninja Theory are returning to the demon-hunting franchise Devil May Cry with the raucous reboot DmC Devil May Cry, which casts the sarcastic son of Sparda in a new light.  Join us for the next 4 days as we discuss Devil May Cry, both old and new, leading up to the game’s release.

    Day 1 and Day 2 focused on the characters of Devil May Cry and their updated versions in DmC Devil May Cry.  However, in a game that’s almost completely focused on acrobatic combat with a little rapid-fire gunplay for variety, the weapons become almost as important to the experience as the protagonists and antagonists of the story.

    Dante, of course, will still sport his unholy trinity of armaments: his sword Rebellion, and his dual pistols Ebony and Ivory (side note: why hasn’t John Woo been approached to do a Devil May Cry movie?) which he will still use to stylishly slaughter the game’s demonic denizens.  These will be joined by several other weapons, both angelic and demonic (remember what we discussed in Day 2?), including…

    Arbiter: A demonic axe that delivers a series of slow, heavy blows that can stun enemies or break through their shields

    Osiris: An angelic scythe with fast, draining attacks that can keep even the largest of demon crowds at bay.

    Eryx: A pair of vicious demonic gauntlets that can parry against the strongest attacks and can fell even the mightiest of foes.  These are fantastic for some of the game’s more sizable and heavily armored foes.

    There are several other weapons that Dante will receive over the course of the game, but let’s keep a little mystery here, shall we?

    All of these fancy new weapons will be worthless without the appropriate enemies to fell as snazzily as possible, and DmC Devil May Cry delivers them by the fistful to fall to your blades and bullets.  There are countless “fodder” type enemies to push your combo meter up to that elusive SSS score, but the game will have you constantly rethinking your strategy with powerhouse demons to test your mettle.

    Tyrant: Much like another Capcom franchise, the Tyrant is a charging juggernaut that will do everything in his power to reduce you to Nephilim paste.  Speed, the right weapons, and a little luck will be key in defeating this powerful foe.

    Rage: Giants rats with porcupine quills.  Really, what else is there to say?  Oh, how about the fact that the porcupine quills require a lightning fast trigger finger to eliminate, even as the giant rat part is trying to chew your face off?  Or the fact that there are different varieties that require specific weapons to reduce them to a cluster of orbs? 

    Succubus: I always thought that Succubi were supposed to take the form of beautiful women, but I guess Ninja Theory didn’t get that memo.  The Succubus is one of the game’s earlier bosses, and she certainly seems to be one of the ugliest.

    Tomorrow marks the last day of our 4-day Countdown to DmC, and it’s the part you folks have all been waiting for.  Check back tomorrow for Countdown to DmC Day 4 – The Review.

    Missed the last two days?  Check out Day 1 and Day 2.


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    Capcom and Ninja Theory are returning to the demon-hunting franchise Devil May Cry with the raucous reboot DmC Devil May Cry, which casts the sarcastic son of Sparda in a new light.  Join us for the next 4 days as we discuss Devil May Cry, both old and new, leading up to the game’s release.

    I won’t admit to being wrong very often.  I’m a man of proud Eastern European descent, which means that, even when I am actually in the wrong, I will fight tooth and nail to find a scapegoat for my error.  When someone finally corners me properly, I will sheepishly admit my fault and then quickly divert attention elsewhere to save some of my pride.

    So now I sit here, controller still warm from my playthrough of DmC Devil May Cry, Ninja Theory’s reboot/reimagining/alternate universe/whatever it may be of the classic Capcom franchise, and I’m happy—no, excited—to admit that I was wrong.  There are crumbs of humble pie and bits of crow on my face, and I don’t care; I was wrong.

    When DmC was first announced (without the Devil May Cry subtitle), I was disgusted.  Not only was Capcom foisting development of the series off to Ninja Theory, a (gasp!) British developer, but they had cast Dante in a new light.  No longer were we dealing with the white-haired, lovably cocksure scoundrel that we’d all fallen for from the first game, but a young, skinny, dark-haired kid…and kind of a douchebag at that.  Early trailers had him spouting some lame duck one-liners that lacked the rapier wit of the originals, even if they hinted at the same devil-may-care attitude, even going so far as to scribble “fuck you” on a bouncer’s clipboard after he’d decked the poor slob.  This wasn’t Dante, this was some sort of imposter, a wannabe brat with a faux punk-rock sensibility and a terrible barber.

    My attitude towards Dante hasn’t changed much after playing DmC Devil May Cry.  He’s still a douchebag, and sometimes he’s damn unlikeable, but something happens over the 20 missions of the game that makes the character change work: he grows up.  This really is a hero’s journey, from nymphomaniac anarchist living in a trailer with a chip on his shoulder to an inhuman freedom fighter who discovers his true place in the world.  It’s surprisingly affecting stuff at times, as we get to see this emotionally retarded young man grow into what he is supposed to be, even if he is a bit obnoxious and arrogant.

    The story hasn’t just changed Dante, either.  Original series villain Vergil is now working side-by-side with his brother to overthrow the demonic regime of Mundus (yup, he’s back, too), who has subjugated the human race with the one-two punch of the Raptor News Network (a thinly-veiled jab at a certain Rupert Mudoch-owned news outlet) and Virility, a soft drink that has all of the popularity of Coca-Cola in this world due to its secret ingredient.  There are some obvious references to cinema of the last 3 decades, from the subliminal billboards a la They Live and the idea of an entire population living a manufactured existence like The Matrix, and all of these nods and winks add up to a fast-paced, fun romp that feels very 1980’s in a good way.  The dialogue is serviceable, sometimes funny, with quick notes of puerile humor to break up the incredibly dark tone.  There’s an early exchange between Dante and a boss monster that quickly escalates until the two of them are eye to eye, screaming “fuck you” at each other with all the maturity of a middle-school tussle.  It was immature, sure, but the delivery was impeccable and the outcome amusing.  There’s some other satirical elements that work surprisingly well, which reminded me at times of John Carpenter (naturally, given the They Live connection) and Paul Verhoeven’s consumerist satire that he injected into the likes of Robocop.

    This involving story and amusing characterization would be all for naught if the gameplay wasn’t solid, and Ninja Theory certainly made sure that that base was covered perfectly.  This is Devil May Cry as you know and love it, with your mainstay weapons of Rebellion, Ebony, and Ivory being joined by several other weapons that you can switch to with a flick of the trigger.  Dante’s new origin (his father is still the Dark Knight Sparda, but his mother is now an angel) means that he has angelic and demonic weapons to switch off in the heat of battle, which makes the game’s style-based combat sing.  Certain enemies are only vulnerable to certain weapon types, and the game throwing fire- and ice-based foes at you simultaneously leads to some truly chaotic battles, switching from demonic to angelic and back again within a matter of moments.  It’s still hard as hell to get that perfect SSS rating, but it’s damn fun to try.  Controls are tight, and not once did I feel that any falls, missed steps, or parried blows was anyone’s fault but my own.

    This is especially important given the new game world of Limbo, which is a hellish reflection of the real world.  Limbo is a living, breathing place with a very loose set of physics that seethes with a hateful life of its own.  Approaching a wall leads to a cancerous black growth blooming across its surface, and trashcans and lampposts crumple in your presence.  Oftentimes, the world completely loses its sense of gravity and weight, and tears itself apart, snarling a threat in your direction—complete with environmental subtitles—before thrashing itself to pieces.  Bridges become a series of weightless islands, walls merge together to crush you between their planes, and what was once a half-step quickly becomes an obstacle course.  These moments are deviously planned, with many jumps leading to harrowing moments where you just land on the nearest edge of a platform, giving you that momentary twinge of fear as you expect a plunge to your doom.

    Finally, there’s presentation—always a Ninja Theory forte—which DmC Devil May Cry nails almost perfectly.  The Unreal-engine powered visuals are gorgeous to behold, although there are some hideously low-resolution textures mucking up the otherwise impeccable graphics.  The frame rate is buttery-smooth (crucial in a game this chaotic and fast) and the motion capture is simply stunning.  The facial expressions are captured flawlessly, right down to characters pressing their lips together tightly when deep in thought, which is one of those small details that make something feel that much more real.  Audio is equally punchy, with the sort of loud, bombastic mayhem you would expect from 9-odd hours of swordfighting and gunplay.  The music by the bands Noisia and Combichrist also fits the proceedings like a sword in its scabbard, giving a crunching industrial soundtrack which feels right when you’re slaying demons by the dozen.  There were a few songs during boss battles that were a little too dubsteppy for my tastes, but they still worked very, very well.

    So yes, I was very wrong about DmC Devil May Cry.  Ninja Theory clearly has the same deep affection that we all do for the source material, and it shines through in the game, which manages to balance old and new perfectly.  I felt all the same adrenaline rushes that the previous games brought me while still feeling the sort of wide-eyed excitement that a new franchise can bring.  If this is the new direction for the Devil May Cry series, then I’ll gladly accept it with open arms and a waiting controller.

    His haircut is still awful, though.

    Miss out on the other articles? Check out Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 right now!


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    sam mendes and john loganShowtime has committed to a new horror series from John Logan (Skyfall, Sweeny Todd) and Sam Mendes (Skyfall, Jarhead, American Beauty). Described as a "psychosexual horror" period piece set in Victorian London, Penny Dreadful will gather some of gothic literature's biggest names (Dr. Frankenstein and his monster; Dorian Gray; Van Helsing) into an ensemble piece. Showtime, like most other premium cable networks, rarely orders pilots, and Penny Dreadful is no exception. In fact, the project is being fast-tracked for a 2014 premiere. Filming begins in London later this year.

    At this weekend's TCA panel, Showtime president David Nevins had this to say about the project: "The visual spectacle combined with the psychological insight in their reimagining of these iconic literary characters seems totally mesmerizing to me. This promises to be a wholly original television show. It's very realistic, it's very grounded; the characters are in very human form in turn-of-the-century London.

    I can't help but wonder if Penny Dreadful is being poised to take the place of Dexter. While Showtime will neither confirm nor deny that the upcoming eighth season of Dexter is the last (I have to imagine that they are crunching numbers to see if they can afford Michael C. Hall for another year) it does seem that Penny Dreadful will appeal to the same audience. Are they lining up Dexter's replacement?


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    dexterYou read that right: Dexter is moving to the summer. For the first time in its eight year run, Dexter will bow not in September, but in June: June 30th, to be exact. It will remain on Sundays at 9pm, which also happens to be the same time slot as True Blood, which runs on HBO, but carries a similar fanbase.  At this weekend's last day of TCA panels, Showtime president David Nevins would neither confirm nor deny whether this season would indeed be Dexter's last: "We’re not making any announcements today about when Dexter will end.... We have clear end game in place,  I can’t talk about it just yet."

    Also getting an official premiere date for the summer is Under the Dome, a 13-episode "serialized drama" based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. Under the Dome is about a small town that is suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by a giant, transparent dome. It will air on CBS Mondays at 10pm, beginning June 24th.


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    Ah, The Burning.  It may appear to be a typical summer camp slasher movie, but it’s actually much more. Not just because it stars a very young Jason Alexander, who looks pretty much the same, and Fisher Stevens and Holly Hunter in early roles, but because the of the shear amount of bloody body parts the movie produces. Cropsey, the unrelenting killer armed with a pair of garden shears, is pretty memorable, leaving a summer camp filled with dead teens in his wake.

    Scream Factory is releasing collector’s edition of the movie with box art by fan-favorite designer Nathan Thomas Milliner. Check it out below and watch the blood-filled raft scene from the movie.
     




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    Many horror films rely on a twist ending to sell the film and surprise viewing audiences. Sometimes twist endings work and sometimes they fall flat. Either way, twist endings are a staple of slaughter cinema. We, at FEARnet, have put together a list of what we regard as ten of the most jaw dropping twist endings in horror cinema. This list obviously contains spoilers, so read with caution.

    IndentityIdentity
    This flick surprised the hell out of me when I watched it for the first time. The twist is clever and unexpected. My complaint with Identity, however, is that it's a one trick pony. There's no reason for viewers to watch it a second time. The entire film is so reliant upon the twist that revisiting it is rendered pointless. Learning that the entire film is taking place inside a madman's mind negates any need for subsequent viewings. Nonetheless, it is worthwhile to check out once.  

    Night of the Living DeadNight of the Living Dead
    Night of the Living Dead is not just classic horror cinema, but classic cinema, period. The final scenes deliver a hearty double dose of surprise when we find out that Karen, the child being harbored in the basement, is not actually just ill, she is a creepy little zombie. Then, she eats her dad like he is a tasty snack. After that, in the very final scene, Ben prepares to emerge from the house he's been holed up in, but before he can even reach the door, he's met with a bullet between the eyes. Some over zealous zombie hunters mistake him for the undead; making all of his efforts for naught. The first time I watched Night of the Living Dead, I thought of the ending as a bit of a kick to the stomach, but it’s nothing if not unexpected.

    My Bloody ValentineMy Bloody Valentine
    This '80s slasher staple is a brutal good time. The characters are likeable, the deaths are extremely violent, and the surprise ending is well played. Part of what makes the ending great is that it doesn't waste too much time explaining the killer's motivation. I've watched My Bloody Valentine too many times to count and that has a lot to do with the fact that the twist doesn't negate the film’s potential replay value. It's understated enough for the viewer to take it in stride and still enjoy the film.


    TenebreTenebre
    Most of Dario Argento’s films have twist endings, but Tenebre is notable because it shocks its audience with a double twist ending. By the end of the film, we've learned the identity of the primary killer, but we also witness main character, Peter Neal, staging a copycat killing to get rid of his pesky ex wife. You can read more about Tenebre in our Crash Course on Dario Argento.

    ScreamScream
    By the fourth entry in the Scream franchise, the "twist ending" was formulaic and predictable, but the big reveal scene in the original Scream film packed a major punch. Finding out that there were not one, but two killers, one of which was Sydney's boyfriend was a huge surprise to audiences. With the first half of the 90s being somewhat starved of quality horror films it was great to see a well crafted slasher that ended with a bang. Horror fans owe much gratitude to Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson for helping to resurrect the horror genre with Scream.

    April FoolApril Fool's Day
    April Fool's Day is one of my all time favorite slasher films. The odd thing is that is that it's not really a slasher film at all. We learn in the big reveal scene that Muffy St. John (one of the best character names, ever) is actually playing an elaborate and slightly sick April Fool's Day joke on her friends. The audience discovers that Muffy has staged the deaths of almost all of her houseguests, leaving would be final girl Amy Steele in the dark about her special brand of tomfoolery until the final scenes of the film. Unlike most films with this type of twist, the audience doesn’t feel cheated. April Fool's Day has one of the most well-executed twist endings in horror film history. April Fool's Day is rich with enjoyable characters and hilarious dialogue (IE: "I start convent school next semester and I f**k on the first date. April fools.”)

    Happy Birthday to Me
    The ending to Happy Birthday to Me knocked my socks off the first time I saw it. To find out that Ann had been masquerading around in a Ginny mask, slaying members of the Crawford Top 10 was not what I was expecting. Interestingly enough, the original draft for the film's script didn't include a twist ending. The producers continued to shoot the film without a definite ending in place and eventually settled upon the delightfully bizarre twist ending audiences have come love over the past 30+ years. Happy Birthday to Me is a fan favorite amongst '80s slasher fans. The script is clever, the characters are fun, and the kills are both brutal and creative. You can read more about Happy Birthday to Me in our picks for Horror Films That Should Have Had Sequels.

    The Sixth SenseThe Sixth Sense
    Save Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense, I am not a M. Night Shyamalan fan. But I have to give him credit for a really creative and well crafted ending in The Sixth Sense. The twist in The Sixth Sense has been knocked off ad nauseam, but never has it been done as effectively as it was in this film. Shyamalan did it the right way. He gave the audience clues to the twist, so that if the viewer was paying close enough attention, they could piece the mystery together. But he used clever diversion tactics to keep his viewers from figuring out the twist, prematurely. Look for an early appearance from Mischa Barton of The OC as the creepy vomiting girl.  

    High TensionHigh Tension
    Cécile de France turns in an incredible performance in this Alexandre Aja vehicle. Like The Sixth Sense, the ending in High Tension is often impersonated, but has yet to be done with such seamless execution as it was in 2003's High Tension. High Tension is noteworthy because, unlike many of the films that have since tried to impersonate High Tension, the story is being retold from the killer's POV. Relaying the story through the killer's eyes gives Aja a legitimate reason to show the murders being carried out by a killer that only exists in Marie's mind.

    Psycho 1960
    Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is one of the founding fathers of both the slasher film and the horror twist ending. Hitchcock’s expertly crafted horror-suspense-thriller had audiences gasping when they realized that Norman Bates and ‘Mother’ were one and the same. Psycho earns its place on the top of our list for not only being one of the first, but also doing it best. It's films like Psycho and Peeping Tom, also released in 1960, that paved the way for seventies slasher films like Black Christmas and John Carpenter's Halloween.  
     


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    An American Werewolf in LondonThis week’s sidekick is An American Werewolf in London's Jack, dedicated friend to recently-bitten, self-hating werewolf David. Let’s make that dead-icated.  Poor Jack doesn’t make it too long into the story but he comes back with a vengeance, and is probably the only sidekick in history to try to convince the lead character he’s better off dead.

    Written and directed by John Landis, with makeup by Rick Baker, An American Werewolf in London is the perfect blend of horror and humor.

    Film:An American Werewolf in London

    Year: 1981

    
Sidekick: Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne)

    
Why this Sidekick Is Better Than the Lead: Jack is great comic relief in the film. He’s always ready with a one-liner, and despite the fact that he’s clearly dead as evidenced by his ever-decaying exterior, he tends to be the voice of reason.

    Moment of Glory: Jack’s first visit to David’s hospital room.  He steals David’s toast, talks nonchalantly about his own funeral, and acts hurt when David isn’t happy to see him. Watch below.
     



    Moment of Gory: Jack makes a visit to David in a porno theater with all of David’s kills in tow. Talk about awkward introductions.
     




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    Black Veil Brides 2013
     
    Black Veil Brides were already setting the world on fire when I first talked to founder/frontman Andy Biersack, and since then their fame has shot up to all new levels. Their ambitious new rock opera Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones was pushed back a bit from last year, but the band has rewarded their fans' patience with a dramatic new presentation, including the full-length companion film Legion of the Black– a dark fantasy tale which had a limited theatrical release before its online pay-per-view premiere. I finally got to take in this massive album, and as a fan of their sound and larger-than-life image, I'd say it was worth the wait.
     
    BVB - Wretched and Divine
     
    Right out of the gate I was impressed with the album artwork by acclaimed artist Richard Villa (a long-time visual collaborator with the band), who also created the creepy promotional art for the film. The horror imagery only hinted at in the band's previous albums and videos has reached a new peak, depicting the band and their fans as a rebel army dubbed “The Wild Ones,” aligned against the paramilitary forces of F.E.A.R, a creepy cabal of priest-like figures determined to shut down all free-thinking opposition. It's not a new concept, but it's well-handled here, playing out on a grand scale and mirrored in the plot of Legion of the Black, which depicts one of the band's fans escaping from a mental hospital to join up with the Wild Ones and do battle with F.E.A.R.
     
    BVB - Legion of the Black
     
    That's the world they've created; now let's get down to the music that shapes it. Even before their debut album We Stitch These Wounds hit the streets, the Brides have summoned an anthemic style seemingly tailored to giant venues, taking musical and lyrical cues from the standard-bearers of '70s & '80s arena rock, horror punk and metal. Wretched and Divine, while it has its share of misfires, is the first time the overall presentation has risen to the ambitious scale of their songwriting, and it also finds the Brides even stronger than the sum of their many influences. Biersack's robust vocals – always one of the band's strengths – are finely tuned here, and bring a lot of warmth and power to the lyrical images. The story is pretty basic, considering the album's colossal scope, but for me, the most legendary concept records (including The Who's Tommy and Pink Floyd's The Wall) tend to be pretty modular, with each song standing up well outside the bounds of the album. Across these 19 tracks, there are plenty of moments to display the landmarks of the world you've come to visit: for example, frequent interstitial tracks containing narration by Wil Francis (of William Control & Aiden) represent the Orwellian broadcasts transmitted by F.E.A.R. While these sometimes pause the musical momentum, they do help sustain an ominous atmosphere, and that mood is an important ingredient in this recipe.
     
    BVB Andy Biersack
     
    This band always rides high on the power of their anthems, and there are quite a few strong examples on Wretched and Divine. The leading single “In the End” ranks among their best work (check out the video below), along with the equally uplifting “New Year’s Day,” both of which demonstrate their lyrical and combined vocal strengths; the band has also many opportunities to showcase their tight instrumental skills, including the excellent “I Am Bulletproof,” and their knack for blending metallic aggression with rock-solid melody in the title track and the powerful, dynamic "Shadows Die" (another strong candidate for a single). The excellent orchestral/keyboard arrangements are strong and prominent enough to create a cinematic feel, especially on the instrumental track "Overture," but usually don't intrude on the band's rock & roll core; it's just enough to tie the tracks in to the larger canvas of the story. On the downside, I've never really been a fan of the Brides' ballads, and there's not much material here to get me back on board with those. “Done for You” is just too emo for my taste, while “Lost It All” reaches for a profound and emotional closure to the album, but in the end feels forced and overblown. But those are brief lapses in what is otherwise the band's strongest release to date, and while many of the songs hold up very well individually (there's at least a half-dozen solid singles in here), Wretched and Divine is best experienced as a one-hour immersive experience, and that's a rare thing these days.
     
    Legion of the Black will receive a DVD release in the near future; we'll have more on that soon. In the meantime, you can get a sweet taste of the film's spooky apocalyptic imagery in the video for “In the End”...
     

     


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    scott gimple the walking deadWith Glen Mazzara's exit from AMC's The Walking Dead official, a successor has been named.

    That successor is Scott Gimple, a writing producer who joined the series in season two. He has written a number of episodes, including the upcoming penultimate episode of season three. Whe Mazzara was tapped for showrunner after Frank Darabont's abrupt departure after season one, Mazzara appointed Gimple as his second-in-command. Now it seems the student has become the master.

    Gimple will take over when the fourth season goes into production later this year. The second half of season three - which airs in February - wrapped filming before the holidays, and Mazzara will finish up post-production for the rest of season three.

    Source: Hollywood Reporter


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    Who would've thought that Roger Corman's 1975 cult classic indie pic 'Death Race 2000' starring a still fairly unknown Sylvester Stallone would one day spawn not only a remake, but a franchise?! Well, low and behold, we're now up to Part 3 in the series as 'Death Race: Inferno' hits Blu-Ray and DVD on January 22nd. The good news? Paul W.S. Anderson, the helmer behind the remake is not back for this entry. Instead it's director Roel Reiné who directed the previous installment 'Death Race 2'. And if you're ready for this new movie in the series, well then hopefully these 5 clips will get you pumped for the release. Check 'em out below along with the synopsis after the film clips.



    Convicted cop-killer Carl Lucas, aka Frankenstein, is a superstar driver in the brutal prison yard demolition derby known as Death Race. Only one victory away from winning freedom for himself and his pit crew, Lucas is plunged into an all-new competition more vicious than anything he has experienced before. Pitted against his most ruthless adversaries ever, Lucas fights to keep himself and his team alive in a race in South Africa’s infernal Kalahari Desert. With powerful forces at work behind the scenes to ensure his defeat, will Lucas’ determination to win at all costs mean the end of the road for him?  

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    john dies at the end"No matter where you go, there you are," multidisciplinary adventurer and rock star neurosurgeon, Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller), uttered in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. It's one of those great, weird lines in a movie that unapologetically lacks exposition, and cult cinema fans trade them with glee. Somewhere between W. D. Richter's 1984 film, Naked Lunch, Douglas Adams, and a hallucinogenic horror-comedy is John Dies at the End. As in Buckaroo Banzai, characters navigate through a self-contained world that careens from one bizarre corner of an alternate universe to another. The film seems destined to become a new cult favorite, with a director behind one of horror cinema's most beloved movies — Phantasm's Don Coscarelli — and an author (David Wong, aka Jason Pargin) who developed a devoted following online and wrote an oddball book while working as a cubicle monkey.

    Coscarelli couldn't be more perfectly suited for John Dies. He's unafraid to dive into Wong's crazed mythology and lets us experience the outlandish events that two slackers full of small-town ennui in the midst of a supernatural crisis face without holding our hands. The filmmaker has created an adaptation that honors fans of the source material and the genre audiences that were first introduced to his nightmare logic in movies like Phantasm. "I did have a little experience with Bubba Ho-Tep," Coscarelli recently told me. "That was a pretty out there movie, yet it had some sensitive, dramatic moments, so it gave me a bit of a comfort level to attack John." It also helps that leads Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes play the characters with conviction as they battle giant meat monsters and snark at talking dogs.

    The filmmaker stumbled across the book by accident. "True story: I received an email from a robot on Amazon.com, and it told me if I liked the zombie book I just read, that I would like John Dies at the End," Coscarelli explained. "I read the little logline, and it was just amazingly strange. I thought, 'Well this might even make a good movie.' Plus, it had arguably the greatest title in motion picture history."

    Coscarelli left a part in the film open for the writer he thinks very highly of, but Wong's duties as Cracked.com's senior editor kept him busy. Any disappointment the director felt was surely comforted by his casting award-winning actor Paul Giamatti in the part of a reporter who listens to Dave (Williamson) unravel a strange tale about his surreal time travel experiences while under the influence of a powerful drug known as "soy sauce." Giamatti happened to be a big Bubba Ho-Tep fan, and mutual friend Eli Roth encouraged Coscarelli to make contact. "I thought Eli was just exaggerating, but then I did get a hold of Paul finally, and it was true. It was exciting for me." Giamatti's production company, Touchy Feely Films, eventually got behind the project. Several well-known character actors joined them. "What's great about making these movies is you get to meet these idols of yours." A huge fan of Starship Troopers, Coscarelli was thrilled to cast Clancy Brown as the enigmatic Dr. Albert Marconi, who allies with Dave and John to defeat interdimensional beings. "He's just a great, great actor… and Doug Jones. Who would have thought he's such a great actor under all the prosthetics that Guillermo [del Toro] always covers him up with."

    John Dies is comprised of old school style and contemporary tone and humor. "The thing is that it's so audacious and so out there, and yet you wanna keep it on some level a reality," the filmmaker noted. Horror fans will appreciate the use of practical effects. CG touches are balanced, sometimes subtle, and appropriate. Coscarelli described the epic meat monster in the movie as "a work of art," thanks to help from special effects legend, Robert Kurtzman. "I really went back and did it all old school, like the way we did stuff in Phantasm," Coscarelli said proudly. "The trick was, there was the potential to go insanely crazy with the digital effects, and we never would have finished the film if we did that. We were always looking for a way to do it on some sort of a simple basis, especially when the actors could have something tangible to work with."

    Coscarelli's filmography is rife with questions about perceptions of reality, but he's also "drawn" to the subconscious struggles of children and teens navigating their way through the horrors of adolescence: "One of my favorite movies is that 1950's film, Invaders from Mars, where that kid loses his parents, and he's seeing monsters and Martians buried under his backyard and other freaky stuff. I guess I'm drawn to that kind of material. I'm not sure why."

    Of course, Phantasm resonates with that idea most directly, which is one reason fans have been clamoring for a new film in the series for ages. "I didn't realize so many people were still interested in Phantasm. It's been 30-something years. I thought I wrapped it up with Phantasm IV back in 1998. Phantasm actors are all still looking pretty good, and there's an overwhelming demand for more of them. I have a couple of different scripts that over the years I've concocted. I've really got to dust them off and see what I can pull off."

    And what about that apocalyptic Roger Avery "Phantasm 1999" script? "Roger is a brilliant writer, and he wrote this epic, hyper-violent sequel, and I just don't think anybody is going to fund this thing. Maybe we can get it out as a graphic novel or something." Several people have approached Coscarelli about a Phantasm remake, but the director feels strongly about not compromising the whole franchise for a paycheck. "I just hate to see it re-envisioned with some model actors from the CW network," he joked.

    The future of Bubba Ho-Tep is "a little more opaque" for Coscarelli. Bruce Campbell declined to return for the sequel, Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She-Vampires. The director is grateful for Giamatti's support on the project, and he hasn't lost hope where Campbell is concerned. "Yeah, [Campbell's] totally out. Yes, he declined, but this was several years ago, and we all have our change of hearts," he said. "I'm sure that one day, maybe, we could have a meeting of the minds on doing something. In any case, Elvis is eternal. He will outlive all of us."

    As far as the future is concerned, the filmmaker is focused on trying to get John Dies successfully launched, and he's open to a sequel. "I think I would love to do more in this world, absolutely. It's always dependent on how the film performs, so it's kind of out of our hands. If we could get everybody to go watch the movie a couple of times and buy three DVDs, then yeah we'll make a sequel," he laughed.

    He's also considered going back to his roots for further inspiration. I asked Coscarelli if the soundtrack, surreal dream sequences, and scene compositions in Phantasm were influenced by Italian horror cinema. "Absolutely," he said. "I have no shame in telling you that a couple of years before Phantasm, one of my favorite movie experiences was watching Suspiria in a theater. I just loved that movie. The imagery and what [Dario Argento] did with the sudden impacts. The music score is just awesome. Love all of that stuff. Now that you bring it up, it makes me think, 'Hmm, I've got to go back and do something that's a little more giallo-based.' I've been thinking about that lately."

    Phantasm II Blu-ray will be released on March 26, and Coscarelli praised the color correction and behind-the-scenes extras, including never-before-seen casting/audition tapes. He's also been keeping up with the younger generation of horror directors, citing Adam Wingard's A Horrible Way to Die, Ti West'sThe House of the Devil, and V/H/S as some of his recent favorites. 

    Coscarelli would love to work with Giamatti and his producing partners again, inspired by their level of talent and willingness to take chances. "Being firmly planted in the genre/horror world, I have to find actors who have that open mind, like Paul Giamatti and Angus Scrimm, who are willing to step into the unknown." As always, Coscarelli's fans are anxiously waiting to follow him there, too.

    See John Dies at the End in theaters on January 25.


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    being humanBeing Human Episode 301
    “It’s a Shame About Ray”
    Written By: Jeremy Carver & Anna Fricke
    Directed By: Stefan Pleszczynski
    Original Airdate: 14 January 2013

    In This Episode...

    Season three picks up 15 months after season two ended. When we last left Sally, Aidan, and Josh, they had all be separated. That day in the woods with Ray, Nora shot him, but merely wounded him, then encourages Josh to finish the deed. He can’t - until Ray attacks Nora and tries to strangle her. Josh grabs a rock and bashes his skull in. The next full moon, Josh discovers that killing Ray did indeed cure his lycanthropy - but the effect did not trickle down. Nora is still a werewolf, and would have to kill Josh for her cure. 

    Sally is still in limbo with Stevie and Nick, and desperately tries, over and over, to get back into the real world by going through the (locked) door of her apartment. It hasn’t worked so far. 

    Aidan is still underground, and is losing his mind. He imagines scenarios with Josh and Sally to try to stay sane - but it’s not working. Relief comes, in a way, in the form of Mickey, slovenly man who digs Aidan up and puts him in a Saw-like head trap. Mickey takes him to a blood-covered basement, where he is strapped down and drained of blood. A disease has been spreading amongst vampires, leaving pure blood a rare find. A buyer comes to purchase some of Aidan’s pure blood, but he kills Mickey and “rescues” Aidan. It is Hadley, one of the Dutch contingent. Hadley has been tasked with bringing Aidan back to the nest of the Dutch - what few remain. Much of the vampire population has been killed by this disease. In the car, Aidan attempts to grab the wheel, but he is too weak. Hadley stops and decides to drain Aidan himself. Aidan’s pure blood doesn’t cure Hadley like he was hoping. He returns to driving, deteriorating quickly, and exploding into dust. The car spins out of control, and Aidan, exsanguinated almost dry, is too weak to grab the wheel. The car crashes into a power pole; Aiden is thrown free, and Aidan lays there, willing himself to stay alive.

    The bulk of this episode is Josh and Nora-centric. They have spent the last 15 months talking to every psychic they could find in hopes that one of them could locate Sally, and they have asked every vampire they come across if they know where Aidan is. Obviously, they have not had success. One psychic - the one who came to the house to exorcise Sally from (I think) the first season - arrives, but is spooked when she remembers the bad mojo of the house. She directs them to Donna Gilchrist, a cook at a soup kitchen.

    Donna isn’t a hippie-dippy psychic; she is a witch. She can help Nora and Josh find Sally, but she needs three things: $2000, Sally’s body, and the heart of a person that they killed. Josh is traumatized, but digs up Ray’s body from the woods and steals his heart (remarkably moist for having been dead for 15 months - and a head that is not crushed.) Digging up Sally’s body wasn’t an issue. They bring it to Donna, who will use the heart to create a salve, which will repair Sally’s body (so she doesn’t come back a rotting zombie.) In order to bring Sally back, she has to go all the way, necessitating the body. Sally will be corporeal again. She chants, and they wait. It has been hours, and Josh is growing more anxious. Donna explains that limbo is vast and limitless, like the sea, and it is up to Sally to choose to take the life raft back to life. Sure enough, she sees the (metaphorical) life raft and goes through the door. Of course, Sally being Sally, insists that Stevie and Nick go before her, in case the door shuts behind her. Back in the real world, Josh and Nora see the corpse stir. It worked - Sally took the life raft. Nora and Josh bring Sally back home and sit over her, waiting. She wakes and Nora peels back the mummy-like wrappings, revealing Sally is in a fresh, non-decomposed state. She wrestles to speak, finally choking out “Stevie” and “Nick.”

    Dig It or Bury It?

    The TV show about a ghost, a werewolf, and a vampire living together have now added a witch and a zombie to the mix. Has Being Human official jumped the Sharktopus? I’m willing to give it a chance, but tonight’s episode was just flat. I really hope that Stevie and Nick are trapped in Sally’s body with her.

    Myths Revamped

    According to Hadley, this vampire plague that is wiping out the species is nothing more than the flu. A vampire drank from a human with the flu, and it spread to the rest of his hive and, well, the flu vaccine doesn’t work on vampires.

    Prophecies?

    Sally is going to decay - but at least she gets to change her outfit.


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    Brotha Lynch Hung

    Last year when we caught up with Sacramento horror hip-hop artist Brotha Lynch Hung, he had completed the second chapter of his Coathanga Strangla series – a trilogy of concept albums (and a larger collection of videos) based on the tragic, bizarre and ultraviolent life of a struggling MC who moonlights as a brutal and cannibalistic serial killer. The final chapter of that saga, entitled Mannibalector, is slated for release on February 5th, and in advance of that date Lynch's label Strange Music offered FEARnet the first look at his latest music video “Meat Cleaver,” which finds the Hanga at his most brutal... and we're gonna share it with you now, so get ready!
     
    Brotha Lynch Hung - Mannibalector
     
    More news on Mannibalector is coming soon (you can pre-order the album at this link), so stay tuned... and be sure to check out our backstory on this three-album saga in this article. Now let's take a look behind the bloody curtain and watch an artist at work!
     
    [Warning: this video contains NSFW language]
     

     


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