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    Hitting toy aisles soon: Hot Wheels’ take on Universal horror monsters including Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

    These really neat collectible toy cars are ingenious takes on the classic Universal films. I particularly like the Creature car and the Bride of Frankenstein 1959 Caddilac. There’s something about the way the back of the funny car is shaped that's reminiscent of the Bride’s beehive. The Wolfman van is a clever play on Teen Wolf and also just looks like something that a tough guy like the Wolfman would drive, complete with the painting of him howling at the moon.

    Creature Hot Wheels

    Wolfman Van

    Bride of Frankenstein Hot Wheels

    Mummy Hot Wheels

    Frankenstein Hot Wheels

    Dracula Hot Wheels

    via The Rock Father


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    Stanley Horror FestWhat better place to watch horror movies than in the hotel that inspired the scene of Jack Torrance’s axe-wielding rampage?

    From May 2-5, The Stanley Hotel in Colorado, which Stephen King used as inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in The Shining, is hosting the first Stanley Film Festival in partnership with Chiller.

    “Celebrating the best in independent horror cinema, SFF will showcase a full slate of features, shorts, panels, student competitions and special events – with Festival headquarters set at The Stanley Hotel. The haunted landmark opened in 1909 and was the inspiration for Stephen King’s Overlook Hotel in The Shining,” organizers said.

    The festival will present Eli Roth with a lifetime achievement award and screen Aftershock with a Q&A after the movie. It will also present two US premieres and a number of great features including V/H/S/2, Vanishing Waves, Frankenstein’s Army, and of course, Room 237. Find out about tickets here, there are several different packages for attendees including ghost tours and, for the fans who want to do it up right, rooms at the hotel.

    via Forbes

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    Lovecraft E ZineMike Davis is the publisher and editor of the online magazine, Lovecraft eZine. In a short time, Lovecraft eZine has become so popular that it caught the attention and approval of S.T. Joshi, considered by many to be THE expert on H.P. Lovecraft. Mike took time out of his busy schedule to share some details about the eZine.

    Lovecraft eZine has quickly become one of the most popular and well-respected online and print (Kindle) horror/science fiction mags – even earning S.T. Joshi's stamp of approval. How did the eZine come about?

    I've been reading Lovecraftian anthologies for many years. I started to wonder if there were online magazines that published them as well, so I searched and didn't find any. I thought, well, I guess I'll do it then. I knew right away, though, that I didn't want Lovecraft eZine to just be a "fan zine". My goal with Lovecraft eZine was for the stories to be every bit the quality of the stories in print anthologies that one had to pay for.

    H.P. Lovecraft is a controversial figure, but his Mythos is loved and admired across various cultures. What do you think is the appeal?

    I think there are several, but the main theme that seems to resonate with so many is the idea of cosmic horror and cosmicism– that human beings are insignificant in the universe. I believe that cosmicism resonates with us because it's true. Obviously Cthulhu and Lovecraft's other "gods" aren't real, but on the scale of the universe, humans and the planet we live on are a dust mote.

    You also have to deal with a very painful illness, fibromyalgia. Most people would have a difficult time balancing that with putting out a publication every month. How do you do it?

    I won't pretend that it isn't hard to do, every single month. BUT, I also have a good sense of perspective. Here's what I mean by that: On the one hand, yes, I deal with an extremely painful illness, every day of my life. On the other hand, there are people in the world with no place to live, people with no one to love them, people who have to get up every day and live lives that they absolutely hate. I have an incredible wife and son, and I love what I do. I think a sense of perspective is crucial when dealing with the bad cards that life gives us.

    What have been some of your favorite issues so far?

    Issue #18 (October 2012) was a tribute to Roger Zelazny's A Night in the Lonesome October, and I enjoyed that very much. (It even features an introduction by Zelazny's son, the noir author Trent Zelazny.) But honestly, beyond that it's hard to choose, because I love every issue. I have a very high standard for publication. Lovecraft eZine is free to read at the website and there is a tendency to look at anything free as "less than" something you have to pay for. So I have to make sure that the stories are every bit as good if not better than the stories in print anthologies.

    You also seem to work with or promote a lot of the indie movies based on Lovecraft's work. Can you tell us about some of those?

    I haven't really worked with any yet, but I do tend to promote the ones that I think are worthy of attention. I've noticed that the "little guys" in film get Lovecraft right far more than the big studios do. But of course, they don't have the advertising budget that those big studios have. I see part of my job as letting my readers know about those movies. I have a page at the Lovecraft eZine website where I list my favorite Lovecraftian-themed movies, large and small. Some examples are AM 1200, Absentia, Die Farbe, and Dirt Dauber, just to name a few.

    What's your favorite Lovecraft tale, and why?

    My favorite story written by Lovecraft is The Call of Cthulhu, because it embodies that theme of cosmic horror so well in one story. However, there's a story that Lovecraft wrote in collaboration with R.H. Barlow that I love even more: The Night Ocean. It's a very moody, atmospheric piece, and if you haven't read it, you're in for a treat.

    What are some of the plans you have for upcoming issues of the eZine?

    I'm going to do some more themed issues this year: A Sherlock Holmes Lovecraftian issue, another issue in October based on A Night in the Lonesome October, and more. Starting in April, Robert M. Price will have a column in every issue, and I'm very excited about that.

    Anything else you would like to add?

    The heart of The Lovecraft eZine are the monthly issues, but there is so much more. It's a great way to keep in the loop on all things Lovecraft. It's a community, a way for Lovecraftians to gather and "hang out." Every Sunday, we do a video chat -- it's a lot of fun, and all Lovecraftians are welcome. If you don't feel like joining, you can watch us live, at: And every Friday night we play Call of Cthulhu the same way.

    I'll also be doing a Sunday show from the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, May 3-5, and I'm looking forward to seeing other Lovecraftians at the Necronomicon in Providence in August!

    The Lovecraft eZine | Lovecraft eZine on Facebook | Lovecraft eZine on Twitter
    Click here to support The Lovecraft eZine without spending any extra money!
    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 Fellow of Film Independent's Project: Involve.

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    After scoring high marks at Cannes and Sundance, last year's pitch-black comedy/drama Sightseers from director Ben Wheatley (Kill List, ABCs of Death segment “U is for Unearthed”), executive produced by Shaun of the Dead's Edgar Wright, is headed for theatrical release next month. In advance of that, distributor IFC Films has unfurled the film's US poster art:
    Sightseers stars Steve Oram and Alice Lowe as a married couple on a road trip with their dog across the British Isles that soon turns sour when complications with family, obnoxious fellow travelers and other annoying people drive them to the brink of madness. After its showings at Cannes and Sundance, it picked up the British Independent Film Award for Best Screenplay, and now it's headed for the US: it opens May 10th at New York's Sunshine Cinema and Los Angeles's Nuart Theater before premiering on demand May 13th.
    Here's the UK trailer, which is pretty awesome:

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    roger ebertOne of the most famed film critics in the world, Roger Ebert, died today. He was 70.

    Ebert began his career in 1967, writing film reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times. He remained with that outlet until the very end: his final review, for The Host, ran online on March 27th. Ebert is best known for his syndicated movie review television shows with "crosstown rival" Gene Siskel (Siskel, who was the film critic at the Chicago Tribune, died in 1999 of a brain tumor). The two first paired up in 1975 for a local PBS review show, went syndicated with At the Movies in 1982, and created Siskel & Ebert & the Movies in 1986. This show was where Siskel & Ebert created their "two thumbs up" system, a phrase which they later trademarked and was the rating all movies sought to achieve. Well, not all movies. One of my favorite movies is David Lynch's Lost Highway. When it came out in 1997, Siskel & Ebert gave it "two thumbs down." The newspaper ads for the film then went on to read, "Two thumbs down! Two more reasons to see Lost Highway." When Siskel died in 1999, Richard Roeper joined the show, which aired until 2006, when Ebert had his jaw removed due to thyroid cancer and was unable to speak. He was not silent, however: his written reviews and Twitter feed simply became more prolific.

    Reviews are not the only things Ebert wrote. Early in his career, he wrote several Russ Meyer boobsploitation flix: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Up!, and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens

    Many horror fans have been at odds with Ebert and his view of horror films. Many of the slashers of the 1980s he deemed (derogatorily) "Dead Teenager Movies," films which start with a whole bunch of teenagers, then leave one alive to populate sequels. And while he might not be a fan of generic slasher flicks, he has cited Nosferatu and The Silence of the Lambs as two of his favorite movies. It also seems that he had more patience for exploitation in his youth. About Wes Craven's 1972 Last House on the Left, Ebert wrote it is "a tough, bitter little sleeper of a movie that's about four times as good as you'd expect." Yet for 1978's I Spit on Your Grave, Ebert said "It is a movie so sick, reprehensible and contemptible that I can hardly believe it's playing in respectable theaters, such as Plitt's United Artists. But it is. Attending it was one of the most depressing experiences of, my life."

    Some other, notable horror movie reviews from Roger Ebert:

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): " violent and gruesome and blood-soaked as the title promises -- a real Grand Guignol of a movie. It's also without any apparent purpose, unless the creation of disgust and fright is a purpose. And yet in its own way, the movie is some kind of weird, off-the-wall achievement. I can't imagine why anyone would want to make a movie like this, and yet it's well-made, well-acted, and all too effective."

    Dawn of the Dead (1979): " of the best horror films ever made -- and, as an inescapable result, one of the most horrifying. It is gruesome, sickening, disgusting, violent, brutal and appalling. It is also (excuse me for a second while I find my other list) brilliantly crafted, funny, droll, and savagely merciless in its satiric view of the American consumer society. Nobody ever said art had to be in good taste."

    The Human Centipede (2010): "I am required to award stars to movies I review. This time, I refuse to do it. The star rating system is unsuited to this film. Is the movie good? Is it bad? Does it matter? It is what it is and occupies a world where the stars don't shine."

    Halloween (1979): "'Halloween' is an absolutely merciless thriller, a movie so violent and scary that, yes, I would compare it to “Psycho.” It's a terrifying and creepy film about what one of the characters calls Evil Personified."

    An American Werewolf in London (1981): "...the laughs and the blood coexist very uneasily in this film."

    Roger Ebert had announced yesterday that what he previously believed to be a bone fracture was another form of cancer. He is survived by his wife Charlie Hammelsmith.

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    We recently paid tribute to the long and prolific career of one of the heavyweights in European horror, softcore and exploitation cinema, Jesus “Jess” Franco, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 82. While Franco was not as well known for directing giallo films in the traditional sense, I'd say his 1970 erotic thriller She Killed in Ecstasy qualifies as a near-entry in the genre, albeit loaded with all the quirks and fetishes that Franco loved to indulge in his films. It's also an excellent showcase for the talent and allure of star Soledad Miranda, a profoundly beautiful woman whose career got a boost from working with Franco on films like this one, plus the cult classic Vampyros Lesbos and Count Dracula with Christopher Lee – all filmed shortly before her untimely death in a car accident.
    Unlike most giallo stories, which generally have a mystery to solve, She Killed in Ecstasy is more of a revenge tale, in which Miranda plays the widow of a brilliant medical researcher whose life's work, which involved embryonic testing, was rejected and literally trashed (they burned his notes!) by a committee of his colleagues, driving him to commit suicide. The widow then uses her sexual prowess to seduce and murder the four people (one of whom is played by Jess himself, as seen above) she believes responsible for his death. Shot almost back-to-back with Vampyros Lesbos, this film also employs many of the same cast and crew.
    Franco is often criticized for clumsy camera work, excessive use of the zoom lens for dramatic emphasis, gaping plot holes or storylines that go nowhere, and disorienting edits... and I won't lie to you, all of those sins are committed here. But for all the misses, when Jess gets it right, it's quite amazing to see and hear. The influence of psychedelic culture is apparent in the excellent modern jazz/rock score by German duo Manfred Hubler and Siegfried Schwab (whose work he also employed on Vampyros), surreal angles and color schemes, and Miranda's frequently nude form is idolized in loving widescreen shots, often in beautiful Mediterranean settings.
    Ecstasy has made it to DVD in the US twice to date, from Synapse and Image Entertainment, respectively. Both releases are of reasonably good quality, and both are officially out of print but easy and cheap to obtain. While Franco's work is definitely not for all tastes, this film (along with Vampyros Lesbos, Venus in Furs and his De Sade series), is an excellent introduction to his rare classier side.
    Instead of a trailer, here's a stylish fan video for the film, set to Hubler and Schwab's groovy music, which is a loving homage to both Franco and Miranda...

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    You've been waiting patiently for it. And now, it is finally here... the trailer for the new Carrie.

    What do you think? It looks like there are some nice nods to the original (like Carrie's prom dress) and Carrie seems to cause a lot more destruction. I still have a hard time buying the adorable, vivacious Chloe Moretz as the outcast Carrie White.

    The official synopsis: A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz), a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother (Julianne Moore), who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom. Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King, Carrie is directed by Kimberly Peirce with a screenplay by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.

    Carrie opens in theaters on October 18th.

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    hannibalHannibal Episode 101
    Written By: Bryan Fuller
    Directed By: David Slade
    Original Airdate: 4 April 2013

    In This Episode...

    Will Graham is an agent with the FBI, specializing behavior profiling. Right now he is a lecturer, until Jack Crawford lures him out of field-retirement to work on a case. Will makes it clear that he is not good at being social, and that he has been diagnosed as having Aspergers and is potentially sociopathic. Jack still wants him.

    The case they are working on involves eight missing young women. No bodies have turned up, nor have any parts of bodies shown up. They focus on the eighth woman, Elise Nichols. Will says that not all of these women - maybe not any of them - are the suspect’s target, but they likely represent a “golden ticket.” Will and Jack head out to Minnesota to speak to Elise’s parents. He isn’t there long before he proclaims that she returned home from school to feed her cat, and this was where she was kidnapped from. Will needs to see Elise’s room. Her cat is scratching on the door to get in. Elise is laid out in her bed, dead. Will is left alone to think. His gift/curse is that he can put himself fully in the perpetrator’s shoes. Dr. Lecter later says that Will has pure empathy; Will worries that this makes him a sociopath. Will is interrupted by the forensics team. Elise was strangled, then hung up on a set of antlers, like a a slaughtered animal being drained of its blood. In Will’s mind, Elise’s death was an apology. When an autopsy reveals her liver was removed, then sewn back in, Will knows, without even looking at it, that the “meat is bad.” Elise had a tumor on her liver, and therefore it couldn’t be eaten.

    On referral from another agency psychoanalyst, Alana Bloom, Jack visits Dr. Hannibal Lecter. He brings him back to Quantico to consult on the case, but really he wants him to keep an eye on Will. Will picks up on this and is instantly uncomfortable with Lecter.

    Another coed is found in Minnesota. She is naked and impaled on a rack of antlers and left in the middle of a field. Her lungs are missing - and presumably eaten. (No irony that this scene is intercut with Lecter cooking and eating a pair of human lungs.) Will instantly recognizes this as a copycat and coolly directs Lecter to work up a profile on this one.

    The next morning, Lecter shows up at Will’s motel room with homemade breakfast: an egg and “sausage” scramble. Jack is in court, leaving Will and Lecter to investigate the case together. Forensics found on Elise a flake of metal, like that found in commercial-grade piping, so Will and Lecter start going through the paperwork at a construction site. The file of Garrett Jacob Hobbs catches Will’s attention - he is the only one who didn’t put an address on file. While Will is helping carry file boxes out to the receptionist’s car, Lecter accidentally-on-purpose spills a few boxes. While Will cleans it up, he slips back into the office and places an anonymous phone call to Hobbs. “You don’t know me, and we will probably never meet. This is a courtesy call. They know.”

    So when Will, Lecter, and backup pull up at Hobbs’s home, he is ready for them. He throws his dead wife onto the porch then hides out in the kitchen. Will leads the charge inside and sees Hobbs with a knife to his own daughter’s throat. He slashes it, and Will opens fire. He empties his entire clip into Hobbs, his shooting sloppy and no one shot making the kill shot. In shock, Will bends over the daughter, desperately trying to close the gaping wound in her throat. Lecter comes in and takes over for Will until the paramedics move in. Will is in shock.

    The next day, Jack goes to find Will in his lecture - but Alana is there instead, subbing for the missing Will. “I told you not to let him get too close,” she scolds. Will has gone to the hospital to sit with the Hobbs girl. Lecter is already there, asleep in a chair and holding the girl’s hand. Will takes a seat on the other side.

    Also important to know (but something that didn’t really fit into the narrative I was telling) is that Will is something of a dog hoarder. On his way home from work, he likes to drive around looking for strays. He keeps treats in the car to entice them, then takes them home, gives them a bath, and introduces him to the rest of his clan. As of the first episode, Will had at least a half-dozen mutts, and they all sleep in a big, adorable pile.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    Haunting. With a property like Hannibal, you don’t have to spend much time setting up characters because you know who Hannibal Lecter is. We get a brief, quick introduction to Will Graham, but we don’t need to be told who he is - it is painfully obvious. That was something I really liked about the character of Will. It is rare that we get a lead character who is so frayed, who is so far off from the normal “leading man.” Will and Hannibal are like bookends. Both are deeply disturbed, but Hannibal keeps it neatly tucked in behind a polished exterior, while with Will, he can’t help but let it splash around him.

    Hannibal goes much, much deeper than a traditional crime procedural, which makes it fascinating and evocative. It worries me because that also makes it tough for a wide range of viewers to latch on to, which makes it an easy target for a network to cut. (Especially worrisome is that this is on NBC, a network that has been drowning for years and wants instant results and quick-fixes.)


    Will is having a hard time dealing with the fact that he shot a man. Their newest case is the Mushroom Man, a killer who has to be seen to be believed.

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    Danny Mulheron, better known to some as Heidi the Hippo from Meet the Feebles, has a new horror comedy Fresh Meat premiering at the Tribeca Films Festival on April 23, 2013. FEARnet has a first look at the very fun trailer and one sheet here.

    Synopsis: When a dysfunctional gang's prison breakout goes violently wrong, they need a hideout in a hurry. Picking the McMansion of a middle-class family in the suburbs seems like a safe bet, until it becomes clear that this particular family has reintroduced some very old-fashioned cuisine to their table. Will the Tans escape the trap, or is there gangster in the casserole tonight? A gruesomely funny, no-holds-barred comedy with style to burn, FRESH MEAT will leave you hungry for more.

    Fresh Meat is available nationwide on VOD beginning April 16.

    Fresh Meat

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    Cumberbatch Crimson PeakUPDATE 11:48am: Variety just announced that Jessica Chastain is in final negotiations to join the cast. This would be a reunion for the actress and the director, who previously worked together in Mama, which Del Toro produced.

    Guillermo Del Toro’s cast for Crimson Peakis shaping up nicely, and the newest addition should delight many an anglophile.

    Variety reports that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch will be joining the list that already includes Emma Stone and Charlie Hunnam.

    “Plot details are unknown as del Toro and Lucinda Coxon work through a rewrite on a script del Toro and Matthew Robins originally penned,” Variety said.

    Del Toro reportedly looks to honor the “grand dames” of classic haunted tales in Crimson Peak.

    “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.”

    via Variety

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    The Town that Dreaded Sundown1976’s The Town that Dreaded Sundown is getting the remake treatment courtesy of producers Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister) and Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story) and  Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who wrote the Carrie reboot.

    Deadline reports that Addison Timlin (Californication) has been cast for the role of Jani. The remake’s plot is an interesting twist on the original.

    The film “ … takes place in Texarkana, site of the 1946 “Moonlight Murders” that inspired the 1976 cult pic The Town That Dreaded Sundown. Addison Timlin plays Jami, a girl who survives a copycat massacre at the film’s annual tribute screening and sets out to solve the mystery of who’s recreating the unsolved Sackhead murders, using clues from her own past,” Deadline said.

    Very meta.  Watch the trailer for the original.

    via Deadline

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    Delicious and deadly! This prop replica of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4’s soul pizza can now be yours. The cheesy nightmare is about 16 inches and includes audio of Krueger’s victims pleading for their lives. Buyers can choose from the standard grade version or collector’s grade. The collector’s grade prop is verified to be 90% mint and carefully chosen in the warehouse.

    Soul Pizza

    $69.99 at Bigbadtoystore


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    You know, zombies get a rotten rep when it comes to their eating habits, cleanliness and social skills, but some of the undead have still-beating hearts, as a story in the New York Daily News proved recently. Jeremy Zelkowitz, a 22-year-old employee of New York City haunted house Times Scare, was going about his regular late-night gig, shambling around 42nd Street in full zombie makeup to promote the horror attraction, when he saw a black-and-white cat dodging in and out of businesses and nearly running into oncoming traffic. 
    Zelkowitz caught the cat and got it to a veterinarian, who was understandably taken aback by his rescuer's undead appearance. “I told them right away, 'Look, I'm not crazy. I work at the haunted house,’” he said. “There were a lot of looks, but I'm used to it.” The vet found the homing microchip on the cat, whose name turns out to be Disaster, and traced him to NYPD cop Jimmy Helliesen, who aids stray cats on his beat and lost track of his friend two years ago.
    “I dress as a zombie every day and I just love animals,” said Zelkowitz. “I try to do the right thing.”

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    So... have you seen it yet? Or working up the nerve to see it this weekend? Either way, we're here to help. Over the past month or two, FEARnet has rounded up just about anything you'd want to know about the most talked-about horror flick of the year, which is already blowing audiences out of their seats and picking up rave reviews. In case you've missed some of our recent coverage, or just saw the film and want to relive the experience, we've recapped the best bits right here.
    To begin with, FEARnet was on the set of Evil Dead last winter, and we've got the full report in this article.
    Of course, whether you've seen the film or not, you'll need to check out this in-depth (but spoiler-free) review by FEARnet movie guru Scott Weinberg. That should bring you up to speed.
    Now let's dig some clips, beginning with our recent interview with director Fede Alvarez and stars Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas and Lou Taylor Pucci, who recount their memories of watching Sam Raimi's original Evil Dead and describe their favorite gory moments from the new version...
    While we're at it, who better to weigh in on the Evil Dead phenomenon than king deadite-slayer Ash himself, Bruce Campbell, star of the original trilogy and co-producer of the remake? Here's our new interview with Bruce, along with Alvarez and Levy, from last weekend's Wondercon:
    Bruce went into further detail on the subject after an Evil Dead screening at this year's South By Southwest Film Festival; check out that interview here.
    While we're on the topic of future plans for the franchise, let's pick up from there with this article (sourced from Bleeding Cool) in which creator Sam Raimi discusses the prospect of a sequel to Army of Darkness. 
    Naturally a sequel to Alvarez's version is also in the works, and the director discusses that topic here.
    We also posted this cool piece about Evil Dead costume designer Sarah Voon, who explains the many challenges of adapting the cast's wardrobe to work with the film's endless array of practical effects.
    Back to the clips! here's the most recent sampling from the film, an intense and quotable moment courtesy of star Jane Levy...
    But of all the trailers, teasers and TV spots we've shared with you, the most popular is probably the second red-band trailer, shown here in all its gory glory...
    There's plenty more to come, so stay tuned!

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    By now I'm fully convinced that the arachnid apocalypse is already upon us. Based on recent news reports of spiders raining out of the skies, blanketing entire villages in their webs and eating live bats, spiders seem to be organizing quite an army this year... and I think we might have found one of their leaders. 
    This massive specimen, officially discovered by the British Tarantula Society, is a Tiger Spider, a member of the species Poecilotheria (or “Pokies,” as obviously mad scientists like to call them). It's reportedly the size of dinner plate, with a leg span of eight inches, and decked out in a variety of colors. It's an amazing find for spider fans, but just plain horrifying to pretty much anyone else. Oh, did I mention it has developed a tendency to occupy human habitats? Yeah, it does that. This one was discovered in an abandoned doctor's quarters.
    "They prefer well-established old trees,” says Ramil Nanayakkara, co-founder of Sri Lanka’s Biodiversity Education and Research, in an interview with Wired Magazine. “But due to deforestation the number have dwindled, and due to lack of suitable habitat they enter old buildings."
    I'm sure we'll have more news in the ongoing saga of the giant spider invasion. In the meantime, sleep well, but check your sheets first. You're welcome.

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    XLrator Media has announced their acquisition of the North American rights to Holy Ghost People, a dark and moody backwoods thriller that riveted audiences at this year's South By Southwest Film Festival. The film is directed by Mitchell Altieri, who co-wrote with Phil Flores (Altieri & Flores are also known as The Butcher Brothers, who created the vampire-themed films The Hamiltons and The Thompsons), with Kevin Artigue & Joe Egender.
    Holy Ghost People is a southern gothic thriller/drama about a teenager searching for her lost sister in the Appalachian Mountains, where she encounters a snake-handling religious cult and eventually learns the truth about her sister's fate. You can read our review here.
    Release dates have not yet been finalized, so stay tuned for updates... in the meantime, here's the trailer:

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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!

    Locke and Key: Omega No. 4

    Joe Hill's ongoing comic about a creepy ancestral home full of mysterious doors is nearing it's grand finale. At this point, a demon has possessed the body of the youngest of our family of heroes. While he uses his guile and machinations to try and kill lots of high school students in a cave, our remaining protagonists struggle against the encroaching doom. Shadows take on a life of their own, hunting down everyone they can, vulnerable only to light.

    Bag it or board it up? This series is coming to a close, but it is in no way "winding down." This issue is brimming with plot twists, exciting character development, and high action. There's also a very handy recap at the beginning of this issue which gives broad outlines of the entire series and a more detailed explanation of what's going on right now in the comic. This type of review takes only a page of space, and I can't tell you how many other comics would benefit from it! Good job, Locke and Key, you're keeping everyone up to speed.

    Abe Sapien No. 1

    In this all new series from Mike Mignola, everyone's favorite semi-aquatic hero takes center stage. Abe Sapien, one-time foil to the gruff and impulsive Hellboy, is on the run from his own bureau. After being unconscious for four months Abe hijacks a truck and goes on the lam. But why? What, during his period of unconsciousness, did he learn about himself? And why does it make him want to run from the B.P.R.D.?

    Bag it or board it up? File this series under "dedicated fan." I liked it a lot, but I can't in good conscience recommend this to a newcomer to the series. Read Hellboy in Hell or B.P.R.D., and then come back to this later. It's full of references to old issues and story lines, and much of the enjoyment of this issue comes from having read lots of other issues of the various Hellboy series. If you're a long-time reader, then you've probably already read this by now. If you're new, start somewhere else.

    BlackAcre No. 5

    In the new dark ages of the 22nd century the United States is in shambles. Well, most of it is anyway. In Blackacre, a retired master soldier is sent out from a walled-in city that still exists 100 years after the fall of modern civilization. Out in the wilderness, he finds warlords, barbarians, strange cults, and all types of rugged chaos. This issue is the final issue of the first story arc, and all of the loose ends of the story come to shocking conclusions (as they often do in finales).

    Bag it or board it up? This is the first time I've read anything from this series, so naturally I'm a little lost. That being said, I was drawn to this comic by the evocative cover, and the tension and drama on the inside were enough to keep me reading, flummoxed though I was. I'm going to go back and read issues 1-4, and I suggest you do the same. This is a gritty, interesting world that they've created, and I want to explore more of it.

    The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Evil Ground No. 1

    Stephen King's The Dark Tower series follows the Gunslinger on his quest to hunt down The Man In Black. It's a classic story archetype with a sprawling narrative, and the Marvel comics have covered all facets of it. This issue and storyline deal with a bit of backstory to the Gunslinger, as he dreams while sleeping in devil grass. He dreams back to younger days when he was surrounded by friends and they made an attack on barbarians.

    Bag it or board it up? There's so much story to tell in the Dark Tower series that it's surprising to see original material cropping up. But this is a fun little adventure comic, and the series benefits from the graphic treatment just like you'd expect. How can a trip through a blasted landscape be so grim… and fun?

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    Australia has two major genre film festivals of note: A Night of Horror, dedicated to horror flicks (duh); and Fantastic Planet, the sci-fi/superheroes/fantasy domain. This year, both festivals have "joined forces" to form a mega-fest the likes of which Australia has never seen. (Or maybe they have. I've never been to Australia.) The festivals are not merging into one; they are simply running in tandem so you can get all your weird cinema in one, concentrated heap. 

    Fantastic Planet will be debuting their Launch Pad program at this year's fest. Developed to "provide a solid starting point for genre feature films just commencing their festival run," three films have been chosen for the inaugural run: A Dark Matter, directed by James Naylor (Twisting cerebral sci-fi thriller); 

    The Taking, directed by The BAPartists (Deep and disturbing art-house horror); and Wet and Reckless, directed by Jason Trost (Hilarious buddy caper-cum reality TV parody).

    In addition, the festival's opening night film has been announced as All Superheroes Must Die, a Saw-meets-Kick-Ass action flick making its Australian premiere. Director Jason Trost and star Lucas Till will be there for a Q&A, and stick around to promote their newest flick, Wet and Reckless, in its world premiere at the festival.

    The festival will run at the Dendy Cinema Newtown in Sydney from April 11-21 (so hurry up and get your tickets). More info can be found at and

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    the walking deadAnother year, another season of The Walking Dead. As has become the tradition, the third season got even better than the previous two.

    For one thing, we had a clear villain - and what a villain he was. The Governor. I have heard some comic fans complain that they did not like that he started off kind and magnanimous, but for viewers who haven’t read the comic, this is how you need to do it. That psychotic nature was always bubbling under the surface - he was just great at hiding it.  It is rare you get a character who is so depraved, yet doesn’t come off as a cartoon. Having a human villain gave a new dimension to this season. While the zombies are horrifying, they are also easy to understand. They are mindless, operating on pure instinct. What’s more, by the third season, our survivors have largely learned how to live with the walkers. In fact, of all the notable deaths this season (and boy, there were a lot) I think only T-Dog was truly killed by walkers. He was bit, he fought as long as he could, then he left himself to be walker-bait so Carol could escape. Lori died in childbirth; Merle was shot by the Governor; Milton died of blood loss after being stabbed by the Governor; Andrea shot herself before she could change; and most of the citizens of Woodbury died at the hands of the Governor.

    There were other, huge character shifts this season. Rick totally lost his marbles. He started seeing his dead wife, speaking to her on the phone, and became intensely paranoid of anyone unfamiliar. His return from the edge was a little too easy, and a little too cheesy. Then there was Carl. Little Carl, growing up way too fast. His father’s paranoia really started to rub off on him - but I guess shooting your mother in the head to prevent her from turning into a drooling flesheater can flip that psychopath switch in the brain.

    This season was larger in scope than previous seasons, largely because of the dual settings: the prison and Woodbury. While switching between the two was sometimes detrimental to the storyline, it also offered us a Civil War kind of set-up. We see how one side prepares, then the other, knowing eventually they will come together in a massive battle. But some of the best episodes were far more quiet, more intense, and took place at neither locale.

    So who wants to take bets on where season four will lead us? I have not finished the comics (I just got the part where Shane dies) so I don’t have even a general idea of what might transfer over. But based on what I know of the TV series, two things are pretty certain: the Governor is not gone and Carl is no child anymore. The Governor is out there, and we know he will return for season four. After slaughtering a dozen of your followers in cold blood, you’ve pretty much fallen past rock-bottom to a nebulous underworld there is no coming back from. While Carl seems to be headed in a similar trajectory, he is young enough and malleable enough that he can come back from the brink - I just don’t think Rick is in any position to do so. What actually fascinates me the most is what will happen to Lil’ Asskicker in five or six years. What happens when you are born into the zombie apocalypse? With absolutely no knowledge of a life besides this one, how does that change your world view?

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    Showtime has released two new teasers for the upcoming eighth and final season of Dexter.

    First up is a simple text teaser with the names of former victims splashed across the screen. "They're done. He's not" may be the tagline, but could we see some familiar faces as the series winds down?

    Next, Dexter ruminates on how messy his life has gotten. Add your own "quicker picker-upper" jokes.

    Dexter returns for its final season on June 30th on Showtime.

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