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FEARNET.com News and Reviews

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    Ray_Harryhausen
     
    In tribute to the legacy of special effects legend Ray Harryhausen, who passed away yesterday at 92, Sony Movie Channel has updated its programming to include a Harryhausen-themed TV marathon this Saturday, May 11.
     
    This new lineup begins with the documentary Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan at 12:45 PM ET. The creators of the documentary, which took ten years to complete and had its US premiere on SMC last month, worked closely with the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation to cover the full history of Ray's career, from his early days in Hollywood to the development of his “Dynamation” technique and concluding with his 90th birthday celebration.
     
    Sinbad
    The documentary is followed by three of the beloved Sinbad films which showcase Harryhausen's amazing work: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad airs at 2:30 PM, followed by The Golden Voyage of Sinbad at 4:10 PM and Sinbad And The Eye of the Tiger at 6:10 PM (all times Eastern).
     
    Sony Movie Channel's website is also hosting an interactive web experience showcasing Harryhausen’s creations and techniques, and other original web content. SMC subscribers can watch the documentary online through May 31st at the same site.

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    Voltaire
     
    Aurelio Voltaire is a legend among Goth and geek culture and a familiar name to horror, dark fantasy and science fiction fans around the world. Over his long career he has demonstrated a staggering number of skills – he's a popular musician & composer, comedian, author, artist, toy & game designer, animator and award-winning filmmaker, and we've covered many of his projects here on FEARnet. Now those diverse talents are coming together in the feature film Oh My Goth!, written and directed by Voltaire and based on his comic book of the same name.
     
    Voltaire_OMG
     
    “It was time to finally unite my storytelling, my music, my twisted humor and filmmaking sensibilities all into one project,” Voltaire explains. “It has all the things I love: monsters, rock and roll, comedy and sex mashed into a giant ball of awesome.” The producers of Oh My Goth! describe the film as a synthesis of his many creative pursuits, and producer Keryn Thompson says it best: “There's loud music. There's scantily clad girls. There's Satan.” Hell, count us in for this one.
     
    Here's the amazing plot in detail:
     
    When the reanimated skeletons of Necronus, a cemetery planet across the dark expanse of space, decide they need Earth paved into a landing strip, they send, possibly the worst of their agents to undertake the task. Arrogant, pompous and not the brightest laser in the arsenal, Heironymous Poshe , takes on human form and travels to Earth aboard his Black Spire, a space ship that could easily pass for a giant, black cathedral. However, Poshe has plans of his own, namely to avoid a desk job on the Necrid home world and live a life of leisure in a fixed orbit above Earth. For centuries, Poshe (along with his robot slave and an imprisoned midget) has avoided his prime directive. Instead he has spent his time abducting Earth women, celebrities and bands for a non-stop, nightly party above the Black Spire.
     
    But Poshe’s days of care-free, hot-babe abduction are coming to an end. Tired of Poshe’s lack or results, Lord Krom Wrath, supreme ruler of the Necrus, launches a full scale invasion of Earth. Poshe bands with the only people on Earth who understand his cause (a group of Goth kids, a cadre of ninja priests and a small army of Hasidic Rabbis- ironically, all of them people who wear all black!) to repel the oncoming armada of Necrid ships. The final space battle is the “Jews in Space” Mel Brooks promised us and never delivered!
     
    Oh My Goth! is currently in preproduction and will shoot in New York City. More news to come, so stay tuned!

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    Every time Tom Piccirilli puts the proverbial pen to paper, he spills his guts out. He just can’t help himself. It’s the kind of writer he is. He is not the kind of writer who assembles classically structured, easily categorized product. He’s the kind of writer whose stories feel more like confessions. Or, perhaps, cries for help.
     
    It’s what makes him unique. It’s what makes him so damn good. 
     
    Tom_Pic_WMYDWhat Makes You Die is, perhaps, his most intensely personal work in a long line of intensely personal works. The author is not being coy about the fact that this particular tale hits close to home – the hero’s name is Tommy Pic, for crying out loud. And he’s a writer – of screenplays rather than prose, but what’s the difference? He’s a guy who makes a living pouring his heart into projects that are then sent out into the world to be edited, watered-down, skimmed over, and often misunderstood. Tommy Pic is a man for whom writing is such a part of himself that, lately, he can’t remember doing it – and yet, somehow, he’s turning out a script that his agent says may be the thing that resurrects Pic’s once promising career.
     
    As of now, Pic’s claim to fame is a series of low budget monster movies that got progressively goofier and cheesier as he churned them out. Even that well has dried up, and he’s moved back home from Hollywood, hiding out in his mother’s basement and crumbling under the weight of the ghosts that hound him. There are many, including his dead father and brother, and his childhood love, Kathy, and something that identifies itself as a Komodo dragon. That one lives in his gut and occasionally leaves him cryptic messages on Post-It Notes. Tommy tried to cut it out once, but he didn’t succeed.
     
    How much of this story is real, and how much is in Tommy Pic’s head? And how much of it is real to Tom Piccirilli, who is both passionate and haunted by his own work? There’s a section in the middle of the book in which Tommy Pic has found himself the guest of honor at a meeting of a high school cinema club. Piccirilli presents this portion of the book in screenplay format, and in it Tommy Pic is answering questions about the themes of his work, and the reasons why he puts so much of himself into the things he writes. Reading this section was like reading an interview with Piccirilli, who’s expressed many of the same thoughts and theories as his character does here in interviews of his own. It’s a moment that they call “breaking the fourth wall” when it happens on film or television. It’s that point when a character looks out of the screen and right at you and says, “Let’s cut the BS and really talk, okay?” I’ve got that feeling from Piccirilli’s work before, but it’s never been this blatant.
     
    What Makes You Die is a hard book to review because it defies any sort of comparison. It’s horrific at times, but it’s not horror. It’s semi-autobiographical, maybe, but then again who knows? There’s a mystery at the heart of it all, the question of what happened to a little girl on a dreary afternoon many years ago, but that’s not really the point. It’s Tom Piccirilli through-and-through, and if that means something to you, you’ll know what I mean. If not, this is as good a place to start learning as any.
     
    It’s not easy watching a man exorcise his own demons for all the world to see. It’s messy and ugly and brutal and painfully honest. That’s as good a description as I can come up with for this book, and for the large majority of Tom Piccirilli’s work. If that’s the kind of book you like to get lost in, then you’ve come to the right place.
     
     
    Blu Gilliand is a freelance writer of fiction and nonfiction. He covers horror fiction at his blog, October Country, and contributes interviews to the Horror World website. Follow him on Twitter at @BluGilliand. 

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    Mondonomicon
    In response to fan inquiries following last month's screening of Sam Raimi's Army of Darkness in Kansas City, famed art collective Mondo announced the remaining posters for the film, featuring the stunning work of artist Randy Ortiz shown below, will be available for sale tomorrow.
     
    AOD
     
    This news comes with the unveiling of some equally awesome new items: Mondo will also be selling this brand new print for Evil Dead 2 by Jason Edmiston...
     
    ED2
     
    Best of all, they will release their third art book Mondonomicon, which like its predecessors is a leather-bound collection of archived Mondo prints... but this edition is truly a “Book of the Dead,” as it features an assortment of images from "dead" Mondo projects, including sixteen previously unused designs, printed in blood red across the back of every print. More of these images are viewable on Mondo's blog.
     
    Mondo_detail
    The book and posters will go on sale tomorrow, May 9th, at a time to be announced by Mondo via Twitter... so be sure to follow them!

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    supernaturalSupernatural Episode 822
    “Clip Show”
    Written By: Andrew Dabb
    Directed By: Thomas J. Wright
    Original Airdate: 8 May 2013

    In This Episode...

    Sam and Dean are going through the Men of Letters files on demon possession. They discover an old film reel and sit down to watch it. On it, a young priest and an old priest are performing an exorcism, the likes of which they have never seen. The older priest, Max Thompson, uses different language and forces the possessed to ingest some of his blood. The demon explodes out of the old woman’s chest, killing her instantly and disappearing. Sam discovers that Father Thompson died a few months after that film, but the younger priest, Simon, is still alive. The boys travel to St. Louis to speak to him. Father Thompson believed that a demon was merely a corrupted human soul, and that with the proper exorcism he could wash the taint away. Father Thompson believed demons could be cured. Simon turns over all of Father Thompson’s files to the boys.

    The Winchesters take the files back to their bunker and sift through the contents. Father Thompson would have the demon chained up, and every hour inject him with his own, purified blood (apparently all that takes is some time in a confessional). By the eighth hour, the demon was begging for mercy. Father Thompson slit open his hand and force-fed the demon his blood directly from the source. The demon’s eyes glow and flash, and the humanity returns to the man’s eyes. He has been cured. So now all the boys need to do is set a demon trap, get some sanctified blood, and lure a demon in to be cured. But why lure one when they have one in pieces? The boys dig up Abaddon and sew her head back onto her body. They think they are hot shit because they cut off her hands and she has the pentagram bullet in her head, so there isn’t much she can do. A phone call interrupts the exorcism before it even begins - it is Crowley, and Abaddon is visibly scared. Dean and Sam take the phone call outside. Crowley has decided that the only way to hurt the Winchesters is to make their work for naught - he is killing those that the boys had previously saved. Tommy Collins, who the Winchesters saved from a wendigo; Jenny Klein, who was saved from hexed baked goods. He will kill someone every 12 hours until they turn over the tablet. The guys return to Abaddon - and discover she has gone. While they were outside, Abaddon telepathically called for her hand from a box on the table, had it crawl up and dig the magic bullet from her head.

    Sam and Dean don’t have time to worry about Abaddon right now; they have to go rescue Crowley’s next victim, Sarah Blake. And where Crowley is causing trouble, there is bound to be a demon or two. They arrive at Sarah’s house, explain the situation, and cover the place with symbols and demon traps. Crowley calls and counts down the seconds to midnight, at which point Sarah begins to choke and collapses. He has decided to keep his demons away from the Winchesters until the trial nonsense was done. So what is killing Sarah is a spell. Sam and Dean rip the place apart looking for the hex bag, but they can’t find it. Sarah dies. In frustration, Dean throws the phone across the room. Turns out, the hex bag was hidden in the phone. Sam, overwhelmed with guilt, wants to accept Crowley’s deal; Dean is determined to kick ass.

    Meanwhile, Metatron (who actually goes by Marv in public) has found Castiel and wants him to help close the gates of heaven. Marv’s thinking is that if you lock all the angels together in a room, they will be forced to work out their differences - or at least not let those differences leak out to earth. Like with hell, there are heaven trials, too. Marv is just a pencil pusher; he needs Castiel to be the muscle. But when the first trial involves killing an “abomination” (a human/angel hybrid), Castiel balks. The abomination is a sweet waitress who sees the men coming, knows what they are, and insists she just wants to live a normal life. They don’t leave, so she defends herself by choking Marv. Castiel stabs her.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    I do not trust Marv/Metatron. He seems to think locking his “family” in a room together is the way to solve all their problems. In my experience, it usually ends with at least half of the room injured physically, and everyone bearing emotional scars.

    Prophecies?

    Season finale time. Turns out, Crowley is the final trial - he is the demon that needs to be cured. And Sam suddenly thinks that they can win.


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    Fox has announced their new show pickups for next season, and of the four dramas, two are genre shows. Score!

    sleepy hollowFirst up is Sleepy Hollow, from Fringe co-creators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. The supernatural-procedural sounds very similar to NBC's Grimm, in that it incorporates classic folklore in a modern day police drama. Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) is resurrected and pulled two and a half centuries through time to find that the world is on the brink of destruction and that he is humanity’s last hope, forcing him to team up with a contemporary police officer (Nicole Beharie) to unravel a mystery that dates all the way back to the founding fathers. Len Wiseman (Underworld) directed the pilot.

    almost humanNext is Almost Human, which may lean more towards the sci-fi/action genre than horror. J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman (also two of the brains behind Fringe) created the series, and have brought in a number of their Fringe co-workers to work on the production side. Almost Human (working title) is an action-packed police drama set 35 years in the future, when police officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids. An unlikely connection is forged when a cop with an aversion to robots and a robot with unexpected emotional responses investigate cases in a brave new world. Karl Urban (Dredd 3D) and Michael Ealy (Underworld: Awakening) star.


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    The chair creaks as you settle onto it. The candlelight flickers. All around you the ravenous faces of your so-called friends twist in delight as you slowly open the box laid out on the table. Welcome to Dangerous Games! Each week, we'll feature a horror/thriller/monster tabletop game you should be playing. Don't be scared… roll the dice… what's the worst that could happen?
     
    LM_1
     
    Lunch Money
     
    Okay, Lunch Money is a weird one. Here's one hell of a premise. You and your friends are all creepy, nightmarish-looking little school girls. You all have lunch money. You all want to beat the crap out of each other and steal each other's money. Last one with any lunch money wins. Um… what!? In this fantastically creepy and totally weird card game from 1996, players will do just that. Through fast-paced gameplay and darkly haunting images, this game is a treat for the casual or in depth horror board gamer. 
     
    LM_2
     
    Game Mechanics
     
    Lunch Money is a game best played with three or more players, though it can be played with as little as two. Each player starts with fifteen counters in front of them. This represents your "lunch money" and it is the goal of each player to be the last person with counters left. When a player loses his or her counters, they are "unconscious" and knocked out of the game.
     
    The way a player makes their opponents lose counters is by playing attack cards. These cards, with names like "Hook," "Jab," "Hail Mary," "Haymaker" and "Uppercut" seem grisly when attributed to the creepy little girl photos on the cards. You know the type, demonic-looking little ones in white dresses, with creepy eyes and in spooky environments. It smacks of possession horror, where a creepy kid could be scarier than any demon Greg Nicotero could cook up.
     
    Players will also, of course, be attacked by their opponents. So there are defensive cards like dodge and block. There are also weapon cards, combo moves, and specialty cards like "Poke in the Eye." Each card causes a player to lose a certain amount of counters, and like I stated above, last man (err… little girl) standing wins!
     
    LM_3
     
    Replay Value
     
    Lunch Money is a quick game. It's the type of game you bring to the bar (so much so that they've made another version of the game called Beer Money) and play with your friends. If you've got two copies of the game, you can turn it into a (violent, macabre) party game and play with eight or more people. There are tactics to the game as well. Do you come out swinging and strike early? Or save your cards for your combos?
     
    Overall Impressions
     
    This is one of those games where the mechanics are solid but you look at the game design and just go "what?" This would be a normal, straightforward game if the cards featured pictures of street fighters or brawlers. But it's given such a creepy tinge with the artwork. 
     
    It's very popular in a cultish way. It's the type of game people seek out, it's the type of game people play once and then have to search for. If you find Lunch Money by Atlas Games, you should grab it before someone pokes you in the eye or uppercuts you and steals your lunch money!

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    When I was a kid, there was a trio of books called Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz. The books were filled with ghost stories, folklore, and other... well, scary stories. It was in these books that I first learned of such classic tales as the babysitter who discovers the ominous phone calls are coming from inside the house, and the hook-handed killer who stalks kids making out on country roads. These books were among my favorites, but not just for the stories; it was for the art.

    Stephen Gammell is the madman behind the drawings in Scary Stories. But he’s not a madman, nor does he specialize in terrifying art. He’s a children’s book illustrator who happens to have created some of the most iconic literary art of my lifetime. It has a ghostly, frantic quality about it, and that is what drew me to the Scary Stories books. 

    I don’t remember how old I was when I first got the Scary Stories books; I wasn’t yet in double-digits, that’s for sure. I was already growing out of my childhood fears and found very little to scare me anymore - except the art on Scary Stories. Once the sun went down, those books went into the closet or beneath a pile of clothes, purely for those illustrations. Those images stayed with me my whole life, to the point where, as a grown-up in my mid-20s, I bought the entire set again, and those drawing still give me a chill. I pulled them out the other night for this article, and was worried that the drawings would give me nightmares (they didn’t). 

    I am so glad I bought that set because “in honor of” the 30th anniversary of Scary Stories, Harper Collins decided to reissue the books - with different artwork. The artwork belongs to Brett Helquist, and while it is lovely, you don’t want “lovely” illustrations for a book like Scary Stories. You want something visceral, something phantasmagorical, something that will leave an indelible mark on its reader 25+ years later. I doubt that I would ever grab the Helquist Scary Stories off the bookshelf; it just looks like every other volume of “scary stories” that rarely ever scared.

    The interesting thing is that Scary Stories has been one of the most frequently challenged children’s books since its publication in 1981, in no small part due to the images; yet the publisher has steadfastly kept the books unedited - until this 30th anniversary edition. What’s worse is that the Helquist editions aren’t just a tamer option for someone looking to buy the books; they are the only option. Harper Collins stopped printing the Gammell editions altogether.   Individual volumes of the Gammell-illustrated books are selling for up to $40 apiece - and good luck trying to find a complete box set.

    Below are a few examples of Gammell’s original, blood-curdling illustrations - and Helquist’s fine-but-average replacement illustrations. You tell me which you would be more likely to buy!

     


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    In the first two segments of our interview, screenwriter and novelist Karl Alexander took us through the early success of his novel turned into a hit film Time After Time and the subsequent slow down and near stagnation of his writing career afterwards. He continued to struggle to revisit that earlier achievement and eventually went back to that same time travel well for another novel or two.
     
    Jaclyn_RipperHad you always thought about revisiting the world of Time After Time?
     
    It hadn't played in the back of my mind because the contract I signed said that I could not write a sequel for five years. So I just kind of forgot about it. Then five years passed and I thought do I want to write a sequel? I think my thinking was I don't want to write a sequel unless I can top the idea of the first book, which for me is pretty hard to do because the idea is pretty spectacular. Then I'm having lunch with somebody, I think this was in 2006, and he's talking about Time After Time. He says, "You know you ever thought about writing a sequel?" I said "Yeah, I have."  He said, "What if Jack the Ripper came back as a woman?" I started working on it the next day. My old editor loved the idea and he gave me a contract for all three books - for Jaclyn the Ripper and for reprints of Time After Time and Papa and Fidel.
     
    Up until that time or even up until now have you ever had a screenplay of your own produced?
     
    I've had some television stuff done. I've done a couple of television pilots and I did some writing for Unsolved Mysteries because I knew the person who had thought up that idea. But that's pretty much it.
     
    Now we come to your current novel Time-Crossed Lovers.
     
    Back at the time when I started working on it was that I've got Time After Time, I've got Jaclyn, and if I have any kind of audience at all somebody's going to want me to do something about time travel. That's how it started. Then as I got into the book I enjoyed writing it. But it's not a sequel. It's not related to Time After Time. It's just another time travel adventure. That's about it. It's a good book.
     
    Is it something that could be optioned and made into a film?
     
    Actually, now that you mention it, yeah, there's a pretty famous music video director named Dale Resteghini, I think, who does all the music videos of big time rap artists [editor’s note: Dale Resteghini is also known as Rage]. He's been trying to put it together as a film for a year now. I wrote a screenplay for him. He keeps telling me that he loves it and he wants to do it. That's pretty much where it sits right now. I still own the rights. If somebody reads the book and they like it we can go from there.
     
    I have found that in most cases if you really scrutinize time travel stories they just don't add up. You must have made a really concerted effort to make sure that Time After Time worked correctly.
     
    You have to do that and it's time consuming. Now that there's an internet I can go online, hit the print button and get calendars of all the years and months and dates and put them there in front of me and say "This happened here. This happened there. Don't screw it up." It's not easy. I'll go through a book three or four times and see inconsistencies and have to go back and change it and make sure that everything works. 
     
    I was doing a reading at San Diego State and there was this dude in the audience. He looked totally uninterested and completely uninvolved in the whole thing. I'm wondering what is this guy doing here? Time came for questions and he looks at me and he says, "You made a mistake."  I said, "What do you mean?" He says "There is no Porsche 944." He was right. There wasn't at the time but there was a couple of years later.
     
    In the time you've been involved with the publishing world you've probably seen the entire thing turned upside-down on its head.
     
    I wouldn't recommend getting into publishing in any form for anybody unless you've got either a trust fund or a strong stomach. The web is great. The web revolutionized publishing. But it is also free. It means that you can go on Amazon where there are thousands of free books. Some of them are good. There are even more thousands of books for sale for 99 cents. Just a few years ago a hard copy would cost you $25. A paperback would cost you $7 or $8 and a trade would cost you $15 or $16. Say your royalty to that is anywhere from 7 to 15 percent. That's still money but it doesn't equate to a royalty for free. 15% of zero is zero. I've published maybe five or six articles online, some of them have been excerpts of books or something. I've not seen one dime for it. All it does, really, is keep your presence out there. Because people don't do this face-to-face anymore.
     
    Everything now is about branding. Your name as an author is your brand.
     
    I'm glad you brought that up. I was talking to my agent a few weeks ago about the books I was working on. She said, "You can't just write a good book and expect a publisher to publish it anymore. You have to have a category in mind. Editors are running scared. What is your book? Is it horror? Is it thriller? Is it young adult? Or is it this other category they call New Adult?" 
     
    New Adult was invented last summer by a couple of editors who were afraid that the audience for Young Adult books had grown up and they weren't going to buy any adult books anymore. So they said, "Well, let's make New Adult books." Now if you go to Barnes and Noble, I went to my Barnes and Noble last week, half of the top floor is what they call NA Fiction, New Adult fiction.
     
    Does it lean towards fantasy like Young Adult does?
     
    I think it is all of the above. I don't know. Obviously they are going to leave out the high school romance stories but everything else is probably in place. 
     
    Do you consider your "time" books fantasy?
     
    Yeah, given the element of time travel. Although the stories and the characters I've tried to make as believable as possible within the realm of time travel. I think that's what attracts people to them. In some of the time travel stuff that I have read all of a sudden somebody is in year 30279 and I can't identify that. Whereas, I can identify with someone being in 1979 or 1985. It's not that that is limiting or anything but you have to consider the reader and the audience. Are they interested in an insect in a different universe? Well, some of them are but I'm not. So I can't write about that.
     
     
    In Part Four we will wrap up our visit, in some space and time, with author Karl Alexander. (Find him on Facebook here.)
     
    Del Howison is a journalist, writer and Bram Stoker Award-winning editor. He is also the co-founder and owner of Dark Delicacies, “The Home of Horror,” in Burbank, CA. He can be reached at Del@darkdel.com.

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    Legendary UK horror studio Hammer Films has just announced a new partnership with audio specialists Bafflegab Productions to launch Hammer Chillers, a weekly series of six original horror-themed audio dramas premiering next month.
     
    Hammer3
     
    There's some impressive genre talent behind the series, including screenwriters Stephen Volk (The Awakening, Ghostwatch, Gothic) and Stephen Gallagher (Eleventh Hour), Doctor Who novelist Paul Magrs, comedian Robin Ince, and award-winning horror novelists Christopher Fowler and Mark Morris.
     
    “Hammer films have been a massive influence on my writing,” says Volk, “from the days when I sneaked into the White Palace cinema in my home town of Pontypridd to see the likes of The Devil Rides Out and The Vampire Lovers. Now to be writing an audio drama under the Hammer banner is a dream (or nightmare!) come true." (Volk's episode “Don't Go There” premieres on July 19th.)
     
    Hammer Chillers launches on June 7th with Stephen Gallagher's “The Box,” and there's info on all six episodes at their official site, along with preorder options. From the end of July, you can download the entire series as a package; it will also be available on CD with bonus material.

     


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    This one's sure to be a hot item at Comic-Con: Entertainment Earth has unveiled a special convention-exclusive Dexter gift set, created by toy & collectible company Bif Bang Pow! to commemorate the Showtime series' final season.
     
    Dexter_tote
     
    The tin tote, measuring 8 5/8” by 6 3/4” by 4” and designed to look like Dexter's infamous air conditioner, contains a 3 3/4” Dexter action figure with camera and ID badge (a slightly different design from their previous Dex figure), and of course, what better to stow in your mini air conditioner than a set of blood slides in their own wooden box? 
     
    The slides (spoilers ahead for any noobs out there) represent Dex's victims Alex Timmons (Dexter's very first slide), Mike Donovan (his first kill from Season 1), and Travis Marshall (his final slide), along with three blank ones... for your own personal use, no questions asked. The set also comes with a talking keychain.
     
    Visit Entertainment Earth for more info. 

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    As a gamer, I’ve pretty much given up hope that a truly great game-to-film adaptation will ever happen.  We’ve had winks of cult greatness (Mortal Kombat), franchise-unfaithful lunacy (Resident Evil), and hollow renditions that got the look but missed the point (Silent Hill), but never the sort of software-to-cinema translations that we all truly long for. 

     

    There’s a tiny glimmer of hope, however, as a recent interview with Game Informer (and handily cited by Videogamer) revealed that master of horror John Carpenter would love to tackle adapting EA’s Dead Space to celluloid.  Here’s what Carpenter had to say:

     

    "I maintain that Dead Space would just make a great movie because you have these people coming onto an abandoned, shut-down space ship and they have to start it up and something's on board. It's just great stuff.

    "I would love to make Dead Space [into a film], I'll tell you that right now. That one is ready-made."

    A Dead Space movie wouldn’t be Carpenter’s first foray into gaming: he had a directorial hand in F.E.A.R. 3, helping to give the game an extra dose of horror in spite of its multiplayer-oriented gameplay.

    As exciting as the prospect of a seasoned horror vet like Carpenter directing Dead Space could be, I would sign him on with one major stipulation: that he also handles the soundtrack.  Carpenter returning to The Thing-style bio-horror with his trademark synth score?  That’s the stuff dreams are made of, folks.


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    hannibalHannibal Episode 106
    “Sorbet”
    Written By: Jesse Alexander and Bryan Fuller
    Directed By: James Foley
    Original Airdate: 9 May 2013

    In This Episode...

    The FBI is called in on a case that could be another Chesapeake Ripper victim. If it is, it is likely the start of a new cycle; the Ripper tends to kill three people in quick succession, then lies dormant for a year or more. Will almost immediately decides that the Ripper didn’t kill this victim. He has a lot of the same hallmarks, but it wasn’t the Ripper. This annoys the lab techs who are convinced this was the work of the Ripper. This victim was found with his liver surgically removed and the wound stitched up, but then with signs of the stitches being torn out with bare hands. Trauma to the heart suggests to the techs that the suspect was interrupted; Will realizes that this was internal cardiac massage. The suspect was clearly (well, clearly to Will) harvesting the victim’s liver for sale on the black market. He didn’t mean to kill the victim; he tried to save him. The Ripper never would have tried to save his victim.

    A trio of new victims are found, but how they are found are of no importance; what matters is that these are Ripper victims. Each has organs removed, but they are not exactly popular transplant organs: things like intestines and spleens. Of course, we know these to be Hannibal’s victims. While at the opera one night (ironically a concert for hunger relief), Hannibal runs into a society friend who is just devastated that he hasn’t had a dinner party in a while. We later see him picking out recipes, then associating them with business cards he has collected. His Rolodex is like the Omaha Steaks catalogue. We even see him approaching one of his victims in a menacing way - but we don’t actually see him kill.

    Anyway, these new Ripper victims seem to quiet down the techs about the organ harvester being the Ripper. Security footage shows an ambulance leaving the first victim’s hotel as the cops arrive. The track it down to a private ambulance company, then use GPS to find it. The driver of the truck is a med student named Devon Sylvestri, and they find him wrist-deep in a new victim’s abdomen. Jack wants him to put his hands up, but doing so would cause the victim to bleed out. Hannibal steps in, gets control of the situation, and Devon is arrested without a fight.

    Also: One of Hannibal’s patients, Franklin, sees him at the opera and introduces him to his heterosexual life partner, Tobias. Franklin has some boundary issues, but in the brief moment that they meet, there seems to be a common interest between Hannibal and Tobias. This will become important in next week’s episode (as we see in the scenes for next week). We also get to meet Hannibal’s psychiatrist: Gillian Anderson, in an all-too-brief cameo. Jack is being haunted by Miriam Lass’s disembodied arm. In a vision/dream/hallucination, Jack sees Will as a corpse, who sits up on the table and we see that it is his arm that is missing. Despite the fact that Jack is pushing Will hard to find the Ripper, clearly he is feeling guilty about it. Will informs Hannibal that Miriam’s arm showing up was meant to humiliate Jack. “Did it work?” “It worked really well,” Will says, with just a hint of smug satisfaction. Will is getting tired of Jack using him.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    I don’t know what it was exactly, but something about this episode struck me more than any other. This show has such a quiet refinement, it makes the brutality even deeper. Maybe it was the urban-legend-come-to-life aspect. Maybe it was Gillian Anderson’s appearance. Maybe it was because we learned more about Hannibal in tonight’s episode than we have thus far. We see him in social settings; interacting with non-patients; preparing his feasts. We almost get to see him kill someone.

    I also get the sense that Will knows that Hannibal is a killer, but there is a mental block preventing himself from making that thought conscious. That look the two shared over the organ harvester’s victim was both very unknowing and blithely unaware. I am assuming that at some point (maybe not this season), Will will indeed find out that Hannibal is a killer, but Will won’t be able to turn him in (and not just because it would back the series into a corner). Maybe it will cause Will to have a psychotic break. 

    Bon Appetit

    Among Hannibal’s recipes this week: crispy lemon calf’s liver; chicken liver pate; braised beef lungs; and parmesan-crusted lamb brains. All of those sweetbreads are going to give Hannibal a heart attack. He also brews his own beer in wine casks. He made some just for Alana. It’s classy beer.

    Prophecies?

    Tobias returns. He is a killer himself and the two face-off. Each had planned to kill the other. My money is on Hannibal.


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    dexterWhen it comes to blu-rays, in my mind there are two reasons to purchase: one, because it comes in a cool package with lots of extras; or two, because the picture and audio have been cleaned up and restored beyond anything previously available.

    So Dexter season seven will be out on DVD and blu-ray next week - perfect timing in case you need to catch up before the eighth and final season starts on June 30th. I got a peek at the set before the release and frankly, it doesn't fit in with my two above conditions.

    For starters, Dexter is new. There is nothing to be enhanced or cleaned up. Sure, it looks just a touch more crisp than the Showtime HD channel, but not much. So it looks great... it just doesn't really look noticeably better than the HD broadcast.

    Then there are the extras. There aren't any. None. No deleted scenes; no commentary; no behind-the-scenes footage. They didn't even include the Dexter: Early Cuts that aired on the web before the season started. The only "bonus" is a code to download the pilot episode of Showtime's new series Ray Donovan. Even that is kind of half-assed: it is only available on UltraViolet, which I personally don't like because it requires an internet connection to watch anything on UltraViolet.

    So if you are just interested in catching up or re-watching last season of Dexter, you may want to consider buying the season from iTunes or Amazon Instant. The season, in HD, is only about $35 and you get it instantly. If you prefer a hard copy, the blu-ray will run you $45 on Amazon.


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    PD_band
     
    Featuring two members of notorious alt-metal unit Dog Fashion Disco (frontman Todd Smith and guitarist Jasan Stepp), Maryland-based “psychedelic metal” band Polkadot Cadaver essentially carries on the former group's bizarre and experimental aesthetic, with the same emphasis on macabre themes. They've toured with FEARnet faves like Wednesday 13, Wayne Static, and William Control, and this week they made “The Devil's Dozen” on Sirius XM's station Liquid Metal. I'm kind of surprised they haven't broken bigger among horror, metal and dark rock fans, but I'm gonna do my best to improve that situation here. 
     
    PC_Last_Call
     
    Their third album, which goes by the magnificently tasteless handle Last Call in Jonestown (following the equally warped but not nearly as heavy 2011 release Sex Offender), is a prime example of their dark, aggressive and slightly schizo sound. The band dubs this project “heavy as Zeus's balls,” and I think that's as good a summation of their sound as I can think of; they crash avant-garde, progressive, thrash, groove and industrial metal genres together in a bloody pile-up that sounds much more cohesive than you might imagine, with a sardonic delivery reminiscent of the many projects of Mike Patton (Fantomas and Mr. Bungle in particular).
     
    The title track establishes this all-bets-are-off attitude by laying down the album's heaviest, most merciless riffage right out of the gate. As implied, the lyrics are based on the infamous Jonestown cult massacre of 1978 (complete with the requisite Jim Jones soundbite), and Smith is no stranger to true crime and mass-murder themes, so the subject matter comes as no surprise... but the song still packs a shock, thanks to a brutal delivery, an expansive mix and some creepy atmospheric sequences. Here's the video: it's technically safe for work, but probably not for the easily offended...
     
     
    Despite the morbid overture, a more playful horror-rock vibe dominates about half of this record... best heard in "Phantasmagoria," with its string samples and dark carnival touches; the thick chugs and atonal chords of "Sheer Madness," aided by manic, mischievous vocals (Smith's falsetto, like Mike Patton's, is often used for darkly comic effect); and the blood-curdling "Impure Thoughts," featuring some of the band's best production... plus there's a theremin-like touch at the midpoint that's pure horror gold. My fave from this bunch is the creepy "Touch You Like Caligula,” a mainly bass-driven piece with multi-tracked vocal chants, alternating time signatures and appropriately demented lyrics. Spin it here:
     
     
    Another key element to this record is an unpredictable pattern of stylistic change-ups – like the schizo track "Painkiller," alternating light piano patterns with avant-garde guitar riffs while Smith's vocals ping-pong between a jazzy croon and a rough-edged, passionate tenor; "Animal Kingdom" is even more divided, alternating between bright and perky verses (with muted trumpet), blistering hard rock and crunchy groove metal. Tight instrumentation and chaotic production collide in "All the King’s Men," which sports some of the album's harshest vocals, but also one of their rare upbeat choruses, so prepare to be slapped around by this one too. Cuts like "Rats and Black Widows" and "Lunatic" blend dirty hard rock riffs with Goblin-like synth patterns; the latter doubles down on pop and electro rhythms, creating an urgent, danceable energy that'll make you sweat. Neil Fallon of cult metal icons Clutch lends his manic but soulful vocals to "Transistors of Mercy," a cyber-metal beast with some of the album's best hooks (and decidedly Clutch-like lyrics). The album closes on the groovy “Epilogue,” with a surprisingly romantic tone conjured by light percussion, smooth guitar/synth washes and pristine vocal harmonies.
     
    PC_live
    I won't lie – this album will slap you around like a cat toy for most of its runtime. But you know what? It's worth it. A musical dynamic that alternately shocks and soothes is hard to pull off without creating serious ear and brain fatigue, but this band's musicianship helps balance the scales, and their sense of mischief and macabre humor seals the deal for me. Find out for yourself when Last Call in Jonestown drops next Tuesday via Polkadot's own label, Razor to Wrist Records. If you dig it, the band is getting ready to kick off a US headline tour, with support from One Eyed Doll and Exotic Animal Petting Zoo. You can viddy the list of dates and venues at their official Facebook page.

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  • 05/10/13--12:00: GWAR-B-Q 2013 Update!
  •  

    Mutant metal overlords GWAR have revealed new details about this year's edition of the annual meat-and-metal bacchanalia known as “GWAR-B-Q!”
     
    GWARBQ
     
    Held once again at Hadad's Lake Water Park in Richmond, VA, the fourth annual event, slated for August 17th, will feature the usual avalanche of roasted flesh, booze, park rides, multitudes of semi-naked humans... and of course, plenty of brutal sounds. GWAR will be joined on two music stages by Municipal Waste, Corrosion of Conformity, Pig Destroyer, Cannabis Corpse and more, and it was recently revealed that the band X-Cops, a GWAR side project comprised of current and former GWAR members, will team up for a single performance – their first since they disbanded in 1996.
     
    xcops
     
    GWAR-B-Q tickets go on sale June 6th, and you can get all the info at the event website. Even if you can't make the show – maybe you're afraid you might end up on the menu – or just want a literal taste of what's ahead, be sure to check out our review of the one and only GWAR-B-Q Sauce, loving created by GWAR guitarist Balzac, the Jaws of Death. The band will also be serving up their signature beverage, "Impaled Ale."

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    We just got in a huge crop of stills from the upcoming season of True Blood. While you wait for the premiere (June 16th on HBO), enjoy these stills and daydream about what kind of wonderful, bloody drama they represent.

          

          

     


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    To some people, the love between and mother and her son is a special, precious thing. But when you are Norman and Norma Bates, that love is a creepy, terrifying thing. Everyone knows about Norman Bates and his twisted obsession with his mother that lasts beyond the grave. But Bates Motel attempts to go beyond that and show mother and son’s relationship before all of that. What you end up with is a veritable checklist on how to raise a psychopath.

    In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, we have pulled some of Norma’s “best” parenting tips. And by “best,” I of course mean the scariest.

    bates motelBe Careful When Naming Your Child

    “Boys take their fathers’s names all the time” is Norma’s response when questioned about mother and son having virtually the same name. Sure, and daughters take their mother’s name. Very rarely does it ever cross gender lines.

    Make Sure to Lay on the Guilt

    When your son gives you attitude about not calling the police because you are trying to start a new business and don’t want it to be known as the “murder hotel,” be sure to apologize as many times as possible for being raped. 

    bates motelTreat Your Son Like Your Best Friend

    When Norma is dressing for her first “date” with Zach Shelby, she asks Norman for his opinion on her outfit. She then changes her mind and takes it off, revealing a lacy bodysuit underneath. Norman is nervous and looks away, something which Norma ridicules him about. “This shouldn’t embarrass you; I’m your mother.” That is exactly why he is embarrassed!

    bates motelGo on a Date With Your Son

    Especially when the “date” is a body dump. After Norma kills Keith, she and Norman dump his body in the ocean. Naturally they do it under the cover of night, and of course they have to take a boat out. And a rowboat makes sense because there is no motor to draw attention. Then you can look lovingly into each others eyes. And if you taught him well, your son will recite this little portion of Jane Eyre: “Mom, you're everything. Everything to me. And I don't ever want to live in a world without you. You're my family... my whole family, my whole... my whole life, my own self. You always have been. It's like there's a cord between our hearts.”

    bates motelTreat Your Son Like Your Husband

    Norma is briefly imprisoned for Keith Summers’ death. When she is released on bail, Norman is waiting for her with a taxi and a bouquet of flowers. Norma doesn’t want his cheap apologies; she knows he was “getting laid” while she was getting arrested. That sounds like a wife with an accusation and a husband with a weak apology; not a mother talking to her son. Like a husband, don’t be accusatory - it helps no one in the situation.

    bates motelHave Sexual Fantasies About Your Son

    This is the kind of thing that really shouldn’t require an explanation. And yet, here we are. When Norma sees Bradley doing yoga, she can’t help but have visions of Bradley seducing Norman. I am no parent, but I have to imagine that for most parents, that would be the last thing they want to imagine. Less explicit, but just as creepy, when Norma and Norman first move into their house, Norma has saved the room right next to hers so he can be close to her. Norman thought/hoped his room was on the third floor, in the attic - but what teenager can be trusted to be a whole 20 feet away from his mother?


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    Thale1
     
    Epic Pictures has announced they will be joining forces with Norwegian-based company Yesbox Productions to finance and produce an English-language sequel to Thale– the dark fantasy/horror film written and directed by Aleksander Nordaas that wowed audiences at last year's Toronto Film Fest & South By Southwest and went on to worldwide box-office success.
     
    Nordaas is signed on to write and direct the sequel, which will tap into the same Norse mythology as the original. If you haven't seen it yet (it's on DVD now, so check it out, and be sure to watch the trailer below), Thale is the story of a pair of crime-scene cleaners who stumble upon a mute woman being held in the cellar of a remote woodland house and eventually discover her true mythical identity... and the full scope of her supernatural abilities.
     
    "Ever since we screened Thale in Toronto and released it in the US, there's been a continuous stream of inquiries from fans, eager to know if there will ever be a sequel,” said Nordaas “and let's just say that this time, Thale will be facing some very different kind of animals.” Epic Pictures Producer Patrick Ewald revealed that the sequel's budget will be larger in order to expand the story to a grand scale. “Soon, kids around the world will be looking under their beds to see if they have a Huldra hiding under there."
     

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    The Killer Kid sub-genre is a favorite amongst many horror fans. There is something especially amusing about a pint-sized sociopath knocking off victims twice their size. One of the reasons we like the genre may be that we tend to get a slightly better look in to the psyche of killer children than we do in horror films with full grown behemoths like Jason Voorhees or Leatherface who are beyond reach for making much rhyme or reason of their behavior. 
     
    Today, we are taking a walk down memory lane and revisiting ten of the most shocking on-screen deaths at the hands of killer children. Not all of our selections are shocking because of blood and gore. Some of our choices are shocking because they broke new ground for the time the film was released, or because of the filmmaker’s willingness to explore the taboo around portraying an individual not yet old enough to vote as a knife-wielding psychopath. Below, you will find an eclectic blend of ten shocking deaths at the hands of killer children. 
     
    Since this piece discusses death scenes, there may be mild spoilers, so you better read carefully. Okay?
     
    The Bad Seed: Rhoda Kills Claude Daigle
     
    Rhoda killing Claude in The Bad Seed didn’t make the list because the film gives us a violent and close up look at the act that Rhoda commits, but because Rhoda is like the grandmother to all of the killer kids who came after her pivotal role in the 1956 film. This film broached very taboo subject matter for its time: it profiled a girl who was willing to kill her classmate over a penmanship medal. The Bad Seed proudly paved the way for the other films on our list. Without The Bad Seed there wouldn’t have been subsequent films like It’s Alive or Bloody Birthday. We, as horror fans, owe a certain gratitude to this film for being one of the first of its kind. 
     
     
    Damien, Omen II: Damien Kills His Aunt Marion
     
    Damien picks up where he left off in the second film by doing what Damien does best. Aunt Marian probably had it coming. She really got on his nerves by suspecting him of being evil and wearing too much lavender perfume. When you anger evil incarnate, you run the risk of being eliminated. So, true to form, Damien transforms into a crow and gives the poor old woman a heart attack. This scene was disturbing not for its excessive display of gore-there isn’t much to speak of-but for the way that Damien is so calculating about taking the life of a member of his family to promote his own devilish agenda. 
     
     
    Bloody Birthday: Debbie Kills Her Sister 
     
    This scene is outrageous and shocking for a variety of reasons; not the least of which being, Debbie calculatingly shoots an arrow through her older sister’s eye with no remorse. Debbie later comments, “She had it coming.” All three of the killer kids in this low-budget slasher film were effective at playing the part of sociopath, but of the three, it was Elizabeth Hoy’s turn as Debbie that really stood out as the most brutal and unflinching. The film didn’t have a big enough budget to deliver a lot of blood or completely realistic looking gore, but it made up for it with creepy performance from its trifecta of juvenile delinquents and a hefty helping of bare boobies, for god measure. 
     
     
    It's Alive: The Hospital Scene
     
    “What’s wrong with my baby?” The notorious hospital scene from It’s Alive was terribly shocking for its time and even more shocking because it happened in a PG-rated film. The blood trail that the Davis baby leaves behind is not a polite one. The sequence where the blood hungry baby massacres the delivery room staff and strikes out on a killing spree is more than a little outrageous; suffice to say, this child was not pleased about being brought in to the world. An interesting side note: Academy Award winning makeup artist Rick Baker created the makeup magic behind the Davis baby as well as “played” the role of the infant.   
     
     
    Orphan: Esther Kills Her Adoptive Father 
     
    Esther is technically not a child, but we included her on the list, because she looked, like, acted like, and was impersonating a child when shit got real. Seeing Esther get all tarted up, come on to her adoptive father and then kill him in cold blood caught viewers squarely off guard. Making things even more uncomfortable, we learn that Esther’s adoptive sister is looking on as Esther brutally stabs their father to death.  
     
     
    Home Movie: Jack and Emily Kill Their Parents
     
    Jack and Emily are little monsters. Their unusual behavior starts small; they kill a family pet, but it soon becomes much more severe. Though the viewer realizes, in the back of their mind, that Emily and Jack’s parents probably aren’t long for this world but that doesn’t make their demise any less shocking. Home Movie is particularly surprising because Jack and Emily’s parents are a Pastor and a Psychologist. As a society, we tend to think that children who come from that background would not be capable of plotting their parents' demise. The film poses some interesting questions about nature versus nurture and provides an unflinching look at a couple of crazed kids. 
     
     
    Sinister: Ellison’s Daughter Does Him In
     
    Sinister is another example of Blumhouse Productions' ability to make an excellent film on a miniscule budget. The film’s ending was a conclusion that maybe I should have seen coming, but I was so wrapped up in the movie that I wasn’t even looking for it. Not only is the whole ending sequence creepy as hell, the score is insanely unnerving. It’s the kind of music that makes you want to jump out of your seat. Seeing Ethan Hawke’s creepy child wielding an axe and making the ‘shh’ face after committing murder gave me the super creeps. 
     
     
    Halloween: Young Michael Meyers Kills His Sexually Generous Older Sister
     
    The original Halloween really surprised me the first time I saw it. We don’t get a lot of back-story about what makes young Michael tick and then, boom: Michael is killing his older sister. For me, that was where the remake went wrong. The remake delved too much in to young Michael’s back-story. But, the original gave us just the right amount of insight in to Michael’s twisted mind. Michael is unflinching in his urge to kill. The POV camerawork makes the death even more eerie as Michael takes the audience along with him for his first kill. 
     
     
    Pet Sematary: Gage Kills Jud
     
    We knew that Gage wasn’t going to be the same when he came back from the burial ground, but we didn’t necessarily expect him to turn in to a one child homicide machine, either. Miko Hughes was extremely creepy as Gage and showed surprising range for an actor barely old enough to speak. He was exceptionally creepy when he killed his family’s next-door neighbor. Gage saw fit to slash Jud’s mouth open and then feast upon his neck, while making really weird sucking noises. 
     
     
    The Children: The Sled Scene
     
    The sled scene in The Children is very disturbing. Children scare me, under normal circumstances, but when they are portrayed as clever little sociopaths who can effectively pretend to be innocent and grieving over the loss of their father seconds after they have caused his untimely death, I start to get a stress headache. The gore is absolutely brutal: you see a piece of the victim’s head peel back and gush blood. This scene goes all out. It brings the gore and relentless, bloodthirsty youngsters as well. 
     
     
    We would like to extend honorable mention to the children who kill Steve in Eden Lake (We left them off as we were focused more on children under 14 for this piece).
     
    Did we represent all or most of your favorite moments of killer kid carnage? Please let us know in the comments below.

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