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    Get the look of a chestburster without all the blood and body modification necessary to have an actual alien burst out of your chest. The chestburster is hand-cast in pewter by artist Luis Alberto Cayo whose day job is working in VFX on films like Riddick and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It's one of those things that you can't believe hadn't been made before this.

    $50.00 at

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    grimmGrimm Episode 221
    “The Waking Dead”
    Written By: Jim Kouf & David Greenwalt
    Directed By: Steven DuPaul
    Original Airdate: 14 May 2013

    In This Episode...

    Wu and another officer, Franklin, are called in on a domestic disturbance. Arriving at the home, they find a blond woman, dead, and an enraged man destroying the house. Franklin shoots him in self defense. The man, Robert, has no apparent connection to Lily, the dead woman, unless he was her john - she has a long rap sheet for solicitation. But here is the weird: Lily appears to have absolutely no signs of trauma, and when Robert is shot, his eyes are puffy and red, and bright green goo oozes out his nose. When the toxicology report comes back later, Robert has datura in his system, a plant that can cause a person to appear dead, then suddenly “come back to life” several days later, often accompanied by erratic and violent behavior. Weirder still, Robert was pronounced dead at a local hospital three days ago, with death certificate and all. A visit to the hospital morgue shows that Robert is not where is supposed to be. But it’s not like he just got up and walked away! Oh wait...

    The medical examiner begins her autopsy on Lily, but the moment scalpel touches flesh, Lily sits up on the table, eyes wide, clearly alive. She is taken to the hospital, but by the time Nick and Hank get there, she is gone. The security footage reveals she was smuggled out by a mysterious man in a top hat and cane. Hank had noticed him earlier at the hospital, and saw him in the crowd outside the Robert/Lily crime scene. This is Baron Samedi, a Creole Wesen, who is creating an army of zombies, keeping them in a shipping container, and telling them to rest, “their Mardi Gras is coming.”

    Stefania visits Adalind with a contract written in Romani. Adalind refuses to sign in until she understands what it says, but Stefania insists that she isn’t meant to understand - always a bad sign. Stefania forces Adalind’s hand onto the parchment. The veins grow dark and swollen and throb. When she pulls her hand away, there is a bloody handprint, making the contract iron-clad. Frau Pech spies on this, then goes to Adalind, warning her to be careful and not trust Stefania. Regaining her powers - especially after they were taken by a Grimm - is not easy, and she needs to take care of herself. If anyone found out that she was carrying a royal fetus, she could be worth more dead than alive. Pech then meets with a royal spy and warns him that someone outside the family is carrying royal blood. Havoc could ensue if word got out, and she wants to know how much Eric would pay for the child. The spy immediately calls Sean Renard with this information. He doesn’t know who is carrying the baby or who the father is - he doesn’t even know if Pech is telling the truth. Renard advises him to find out fast. Knowing his brother, Renard assumes Eric will place a bid for the baby, then steal it and pay nothing. At the very least, he will need to put in a bid. Adding another wrinkle is the fact that Eric unexpectedly shows up in Portland - even Renard’s spy didn’t know he was planning a trip to America. Renard is worried that his brother has some sort of ulterior motive, other than just “burying the hatchet,” as he told his brother when he arrived. And in fact he does. He is there to meet with a close friend -  Baron Samedi.

    Also: Juliette has another favor to ask of Monroe. She wants him to show her whatever it was that Nick wanted to show her the night she fell into her coma. Monroe is very nervous, and Bud, who is fixing Monroe’s fridge, is terrified. Bud protests a lot, in a manner that I think is supposed to be humorous, but is really just grating. They go to the spice shop to have Rosalee help. Monroe is tired of lying and thinks Juliette deserves the truth. Rosalee starts. Juliette marches right out the door - then comes right back. Next is Bud; she thinks he is kind of cute. Monroe is the only one who startled her. But despite all of this, she still wants to be part of Nick’s life. Aw.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    There was a lot going on here, and no filler. I love that the zombies are rooted in the old school, Haitian and Creole lore. The Baron is such a perfect villain - debonair and gentlemanly, but dastardly through and through.

    Big Bad...

    Cracher-Mortel. The Baron is a blowfish-type Wesen who spits venom on his victims, turning them into zombies, essentially. These are zombies in the Voodoo tradition, not The Walking Dead tradition.


    This is a two-parter, so next week’s season finale will continue all these stories. More zombies, and more black-market baby shenanigans. 

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    Among metal's darker avenues, doom metal arguably has the most potential for summoning an all-enveloping mood of darkness and sublime horror... but while many bands in the field tend to get carried away with smothering, cavernous chords, UK legends My Dying Bride distinguish themselves by incorporating symphonic elements, rich harmonies, gothic vocals and occasional dips into the black pool of death metal to create musical landscapes that are both melancholy and nightmarish. (“There is beauty here,” the band states, “but it's carrying a dark blade.") Last fall, the band unveiled their magnum opus A Map of All Our Failures, a landmark in their nearly quarter-century career, and while that project led to eight colossal studio tracks (not including bonus cut “My Faults Are Your Reward”), there was much more material recorded for that album, most of which went unreleased... that is, until this week.
    Three additional songs from that session comprise the band's new EP The Manuscript, continuing their trademark themes of “tragedy, loss and bitter vengeance” – although the one newly-recorded track is a slight divergence from the usual somber, moody delivery – and while it's technically an “expansion pack” to the larger work, it still feels self-contained as a dark fantasy tale, along the lines of their wicked 2011 concept EP The Barghest O'Whitby, which was written at the same time as A Map of All Our Failures (and based on a mythical British hell-hound we investigated in our “Cryptid Catalog” feature). Clocking in at nearly half an hour, The Manuscript feels almost as massive.
    Setting up that timeless, mythical feel, the opening/title track keeps many of Map's gothic/neoclassical elements in play, aided by grandiose production by Rob Magoolagan (whose work on Map was equally stellar), and wrapping on a moody coda. Haunted atmosphere envelops "A Pale Shroud of Longing," which lumbers like a slow but destructive riffing behemoth, counterbalanced by an intimate trace of violin in its softer moments, which come as close to uplifting as this band will probably ever get. "Var Gud Over Er," the only track not carried over from Map, is also a slight departure from the band's signature: “It's full-on sort of epic death metal,” said frontman Aaron Stainthorpe in an interview with the magazine Metal Forces, describing it as “a proper warrior battle kind of track that's almost medieval in flavor.” To support that theme, he adopts more death growls than usual, backed by suitably cinematic production and sound design... but the doomy elements are still very much in play; the tempo ultimately drops and the energy levels off, as if the shadow of death has passed over the ancient battlefield to claim its due. The subdued whisper of a finale "Only Tears to Replace Her With" finds us back in a more ceremonial mode, closing the coffin lid once and for all with its memorial incantations.
    Whether taken as a semi-sequel to A Map of All Our Failures or a standalone work, The Manuscript is cut from the same quality cloth as its larger predecessor, and holds up just as well in terms of musicianship, production and songwriting. This is hardly a collection of outtakes, but a natural progression of the same ideas laid down in the full album. Together, the two releases represent the finest output from a band whose very name summons the word “doom” in reverent tones. 
    According to Stainthorpe, a music video for “The Manuscript” is in the works, so be sure to stay tuned. For a taste of what's in store, here's a sample medley of all four tracks...


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    abcs of death

    Looks like audiences need further education - The ABCs of Death is getting a sequel. The anthology, featuring 26 shorts (each one a story about death, focused around a letter of the alphabet) by some of the brightest new horror directors of the time, will expand past horror directors. Of course, that doesn't mean that horror directors won't be prominently features. Genre favorites like the Soska Sisters (American Mary), Marcus Dunstan (The Collection), and Larry Fessenden (Habit). From the press release:

    In a significant departure from the first installment, ABCs OF DEATH 2 is expanding beyond horror directors. The sequel’s new roster includes Goya Award winner Álex de la Iglesia (THE LAST CIRCUS, DAY OF THE BEAST); ROOM 237 mastermind Rodney Ascher; Academy Award-nominated animator Bill Plympton; Filipino icon – and Director’s Fortnight inductee – Erik Matti (ON THE JOB, MAGIC TEMPLE); and the founder of Nigerian “Nollywood” cinema Lancelot Imasuen.

    Additional confirmed filmmakers include Lithuania’s Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper (VANISHING WAVES), Japan’s arthouse provocateur Sion Sono (COLD FISH, SUICIDE CLUB), SPLICE and CUBE’s Vincenzo Natali, indie horror icon Larry Fessenden (THE LAST WINTER, HABIT), THE COLLECTION’s Marcus Dunstan, France’s Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo (INSIDE, LIVID), E.L. Katz (director of the SXSW breakout hit CHEAP THRILLS), twin auteurs Jen and Sylvia Soska (AMERICAN MARY, DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK), Israel’s Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado (RABIES, BIG BAD WOLVES), A LONELY PLACE TO DIE’s Julian Gilbey, Brazil’s most controversial filmmaker Dennison Ramalho (NINJAS and LOVE FOR MOTHER ONLY), THE LEGEND OF BEAVER DAM and the upcoming STAGEFRIGHT’s Jerome Sable, and animator Robert Morgan – creator of the BAFTA Award nominated short BOBBY YEAH.

    Like the first installment, ABCs of Death 2 will also feature the 26th director competition, which will give a fan the chance to have their own segment featured in the finished film.

    More directors and details about the 26th director competition will come throughout the summer. Magnet is planning a 2014 release.

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    the town that dreaded sundown"Based on actual events" is a phrase you'll hear in a lot of movie trailers and see emblazoned across endless horror movie posters, but the truth about the "truth" is this: it's bullshit. For example, both Psycho's Norman Bates and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's Leatherface claim to be "loosely based" on the notorious monster known as Ed Gein. So while it's probably true that the writers of both stories used their knowledge of Ed Gein to create a creepy villain, it's not like either film is a re-telling of the actual Ed Gein story. (For that you'll want to check out 1974's Deranged.)
    And most "based on actual events" horror movies lack even the tangential connection that Psycho and Chainsaw do: someone once heard about a terrible exorcism gone wrong in South America, and voila: instant "fact-based" horror movie. That's not to say the statement is outright marketing b.s. every single time, but suffice to say that if you take "based on actual events" at face value, you're in serious trouble. 

    I mention all that as a roundabout way of praising the low-budget but still crafty cult horror film known as The Town That Dreaded Sundown, "docu-drama"-style relic from 1976 that earns high grades for trying to deliver a scary movie while still paying respect to the actual events that inspired the flick. Of course several things have been altered to turn a real-life mid-'40s mini-panic into an entertaining horror film, but you probably won't find many low-budget horror films that even care about sticking to small moments of truth and accuracy.
    Arguably the most accomplished feature from the late Charles B. Pierce (The Legend of Boggy Creek, The Norseman, The Evictors), the wonderfully titled The Town That Dreaded Sundown is, as mentioned above, based directly on a rash of assaults and murders that struck the town of Texarkana back in 1946. (The period design is one of this low-budget thriller's most admirable assets, come to think of it.) So while the movie offers a slightly stodgy "voice-over" narration and some moments that seem plucked straight out of "1970s police procedural 101" (including a few painful moments of cop-related comic relief), it also delivers some legitimately effective atmosphere, several cool character actors doing fine work, and a handful of sincerely creepy moments. 
    I'll leave it to the horror scholars to decide if Jason's "bag head" design for Friday the 13th Part 2 was stolen or borrowed from The Town that Dreaded Sundown, but it's those little touches that make one realize that this relatively obscure horror title actually did make some sort of impact with other horror directors. In the department of random fun, it's worth noting that genre stalwarts Ben Johnson and Andrew Prine are in top (and enjoyably low-key) form -- plus there's a solid supporting turn from the lovely Dawn Wells. Best known as the adorable Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island, poor Ms. Wells is subjected to some horrifying stuff before all is said and done here.

    Admirable more for its attention to detail and a sense of class regarding true-life murders than for any sort of wall-to-wall mayhem, The Town that Dreaded Sundown is a fascinating little obscurity that horror fans would be well advised to check out at least once. And since the film has been resurrected by Scream/Shout Factory, you can logically expect a handful of great supplements to complement the main feature: there's an excellent audio commentary with PhD historian Jim Presley and moderator Justin Beahm, a collection of interviews with Mr. Prine, Ms. Wells, and cinematographer Jim Roberson, and a bunch of bells/whistles like trailers, TV spots, a nifty old essay, and (yes!) a reversible DVD cover. I love those things.

    They even went and threw in The Evictors as a bonus movie. It's a decent 1979 haunted house flick from Charles Pierce that stars Vic Morrow, Michael Parks, and Jessica Walter, and you've almost certainly never seen it. Hey, free movie, right?

    And it has to be said at least once: I bet this blu-ray transfer looks better than the actual film ever did. To those who only know this movie from cable, VHS, or (gasp) UHF, you simply won't believe how smooth and pretty it looks now.

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    There’s a certain flavor to Stephen King’s 1970s novels that goes deeper than theme and tone and even feel, especially in the smaller, more personal stories like The Shining and ’Salem’s Lot and The Dead Zone. The books are certainly “of their time,” but it’s more than that: it’s a distinct spirit that’s difficult to pin down and even harder to describe. These books – as well as the Bachman novel Blaze, a relic from those early days – come from such a distinct time, place, and mindset in King’s career that the stories can’t help but reflect who and where their author was when they were written. Cheese aficionados and wine connoisseurs call this elusive essence terroir. At this late date, decades after those classic novels were published, it would be almost impossible to capture that exact flavor again, in a new novel written by a man much older and with far more experience.
    Almost impossible. King has somehow done it, with his new novel Joyland. 
    JoylandIt’s a simple story: college junior Devin Jones takes a summer job at an amusement park called Joyland – it’s no Disney World, but it’s grander than a county fair. There’s a mystery at the heart of the park, an unsolved murder committed inside the Horror House. There’s also a ghost: the dead woman’s spirit, some claim, still haunts the Horror House. She was holding out her hands, one witness says, like she was asking for help.  
    Both the mystery and the ghost come into Joyland fairly early, and while neither quite disappears, for a long time they seem beside the point. The first half of the novel is more concerned with the simple act of watching Devin Jones’ summer unfold … and a glorious summer it is. Given the setting (and the important appearance of a tattoo), it’s tempting to think of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, but it’s not that sort of carnival story. Dev Jones is a good-hearted man who revels in simple pleasures; that sort of story can become dull in the wrong hands, but King masterfully takes Dev’s easygoing summer at Joyland and weaves it into something exciting and magical. It recalls Hearts in Atlantis, in both its intense boy-girl-boy friendship and its college tale of first loves and losses, and the complicated emotions and decisions spin that from those things. There’s also a touch of 11/22/63: King allows us to engage in the small excitements of Dev’s life as he previously let us watch the easy way Jake Epping takes to living in the past.  
    Along the way, we get a lesson in The Talk, lingo that the Joyland folk toss around; it’s fun and immersive in a way that the relationship language in Lisey’s Story had the tendency to be distracting. Then there’s Howie the Happy Hound and Dev’s reaction to being him: King has a way of making mundane moments feel transcendent, like when Rosie McClendon stands in her new apartment for the first time in Rose Madder, or when Roland Deschain dances in Wolves of the Calla. When Dev Jones puts on the Joyland mascot costume for the first time, it’s as exciting and absorbing a scene as any in King’s more kinetically charged horror novels. 
    Of course, the murder and the ghost never completely leave Dev’s (or King’s) mind, and as the Joyland summer turns to fall, things grow more serious. While there’s some clairvoyant activity throughout the early part of the novel – dire warnings from carnival mediums – midway through the book, we are introduced to Annie Ross and her son, Michael, a sick kid with a psychic gift. In two of the book’s more exciting sequences, we learn that Annie isn’t without talents of her own. Dev’s relationship with these two is as engaging as his friendships with summertime housemates Tom Kennedy and Erin Cook, but the change in season heightens things. If his Joyland summer is, as Dev thinks, the last summer of his childhood, this is the first fall where he has to be a grownup. The days get shorter and colder, and the mystery of the slaughtered girl in the Horror House slowly emerges from the background.  Unlike in King’s previous Hard Case Crime outing, The Colorado Kid– which functioned as something of a metatextual examination of the nature of mystery – here we get a very satisfying resolution to this particular puzzle. Misdirection and red herrings abound, delightfully, and the weather-ravaged denouement could play out as the conclusion to a Donald Westlake or Lawrence Block novel. As usual, King slips in and out of genre effortlessly, but it’s gratifying that at the core of Joyland exists a story worthy of being called a Hard Case Crime.  
    In his early career, Stephen King tried his hand at a novel called Darkshine, about a psychic boy trapped in an amusement park. He took those basic components and transformed them into The Shining, but perhaps some of those ideas – and the impetuses behind them – lingered on. While Joyland feels fresh and reads fast (the pages fly, and a reader could polish the book off in one or two sittings … which is, of course, to both the reader’s joy and sorrow), it also seems like a lost book from King’s first days as a struggling writer with something to prove. It’s good to have a book like this now – simple, sweet, and not a little scary – to remind us that among the prequels and sequels, the epics and the TV miniseries, Stephen King can still spin one hell of a little yarn.  
    The Hard Case Crime imprint publishes essential hard-boiled crime fiction, both vintage work from classic crime writers to new fiction by the best writers working in the genre today. Joyland, Stephen King’s second Hard Case Crime outing, will be published June 4th, 2013, as a paperback original. British publisher Titan Books will release a limited edition of the novel in hardcover soon after. 
    Kevin Quigley is an author whose website,, is one of the leading online sources for Stephen King news, reviews, and information. He has written several books on Stephen King for Cemetery Dance Publications, including Chart of Darkness, Blood In Your Ears, and Stephen King Limited, and co-wrote the upcoming Stephen King Illustrated Movie Trivia Book. His first novel, I’m On Fire, is forthcoming.

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  • 05/15/13--14:00: The Unseen – 'Rawhead Rex'

    Years ago, I remember some of my horror fanatic friends casually dropping the name “Rawhead Rex.” I recall thinking that it sounded like some bodily torture technique your brother would use to gain control of the television remote, not unlike an Indian Burn, Purple Nerpal, or Wet Willie. The larger question is, of course, why up until a few years ago I had never seen this movie. Simply put, Rawhead Rex has always gotten pretty shafted with distributions. Now most people know it vaguely as “the film where the monster pees on the priest.”
    Rawhead2Made in 1986 in the British Isles, Rawhead Rex is based on a short story penned by Clive Barker in his Books of Blood series. Directed by George Pavlou, Rex marks Pavlou and Barker’s second and last collaboration. Their first was on 1985’s Transmutation which Barker has disowned. He also has harsh feelings about Rex, stating publically that he hated the way the monster looked and Pavlou didn’t take advantage of his story’s true potential. 
    Rawhead Rex begins with a farmer removing a huge stone from his field, thus accidentally awakening a tall, lumbering and pissed-off monster. He is never given a name in the story, but judging by the title film’s title, I’m guessing he is Rawhead Rex. 
    After Rex’s arrival, the rest of the movie functions in standard “monster on the loose” fashion. We later find out Rex is some type of pagan demi-god with a thing about pregnant chicks. His path of terror has some slaying, but largely consists of thuggery as Rex seems fond of busting furniture, breaking plates, and punching windows. Rawhead Rex smash! While the townsfolk panic and the police believe there is a roving band of hoodlums, visiting American Howard Hollenbeck is on his own to defeat the behemoth.
    Though the movie follows Barker’s short story rather closely, it leaves out some of the more important elements like a back story. The film has no explanation of who Rex is, why he was imprisoned, or even what he is attempting to accomplish. The most interesting and memorable plot point is the church’s verger who becomes Rex’s lackey. In the book, his transformation and acts of defilement are well splayed out in all their pee-covered glory (I’m getting to that). But in the movie…not so much. The film opens with the verger (named Declan) leading the world’s most boring church service. Seriously, they sing “Hallelujah” over and over for 15 minutes. By the end, I was ready to side with the monster as well. Then there is the aforementioned peeing scene. Though the evil baptism is lavishly detailed in the book, in the movie it’s a passing glance and a very awkward looking one at that.
    I must admit, much of this film could be described as “awkward”. The actors are dull, shots are drab, the sound-editing is abysmal, and the plot features nothing outstanding aside from 10 seconds of watching a guy in a rigid latex suit piss. So why all the love for Rex then? Fans love the monster… who is himself ridiculously awkward. Rex is perhaps the silliest part of the movie, and we love him for it. The costume looks rubbery and stiff. Rex’s taut latex skin offers no facial expressions which is a shame because his receding hairline makes his face huge! Then the filmmakers added Rex’s teased-up Mohawk, Mad Max-ish costuming, rippling WWF-style pecs, and totally rad 80s lightning effects. In most cases when a film monster needs a bit of work, the director might try to mask the imperfections with the cunning use of shadowy lighting, long shots, and maybe fog. Nope, not director Pavlou. Not only does Rex roam the country in broad daylight, but most of his shots are in extreme close-up, showing all the gloriously gawky imperfections.
    All this said, I love this movie! I have no idea why he is called Rawhead Rex. Doesn’t matter. I don’t know his back story. Not important. I have no clue why a stone carving of a pregnant woman brings on a storm of 80s-style neon lasers that force him underground. Who cares? Neon lasers kick-ass, and Rawhead Rex rules. Somewhere in all the silliness of this 8-foot-tall graceless titan, a group of horror fans found an endearing quality that we love. Rex holds cult-like status in the horror community. Most fans acknowledge his faults, but still want to give him a big hug regardless. Hell, even the horror-cloth gods over at Fright Rags recently released a Rawhead Rex shirt which is now sold out. This creature is very much loved. 
    Rawhead Rex is a great example of why I write this column: horror community’s love for a film does not dictate its release or availability. Rex did a VHS release back in 1987 via Vestron Video, and it was on VHS that most of us saw it. In 1999 Artisan Entertainment did a limited DVD release. Now long out-of-print, DVDs of Rawhead Rex go on Amazon for over $200. Even a used VHS tape in so-so condition will run you around $25.  
    For years, there have been rumors that Rawhead Rex is slated for a Blu-ray release. So far, nothing has come to fruition or even been officially announced. Likewise, Clive Barker has long talked about remaking Rawhead Rex himself, harvesting the visceral edge that was lost in the movie. But again, these are just rumors. For now, Rawhead Rex is sleeping, but horror fans continue to rally for his rebirth and re-release allowing him to smash and pee once more.

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    Could one of our favorite vampires be facing the true death in this season of True Blood? That seems to be what the new poster, released today by HBO, is hinting at. I cannot tell which vampire that is though. It's not Eric... I don't think it is Bill... who do you think it is? Am I just reading way too much into this?

    true blood

    True Blood returns to HBO on June 16th.

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    One of the reasons why we love horror films is the dangerous sex appeal – especially in slasher films from the 80s. Although most teenagers in these slasher films suffer brutal deaths after they engage in such sexy behaviors, there is something still strangely and erotically appealing about sex in these horror films. But what about the monster sex scenes? Do they have the same effect on spectators? Are monster scenes sexy? Maybe we’re getting too far ahead of ourselves - what qualifies as a monster sex scene? For the purposes of this list, I am only examining non-human sex – although one human might be involved in the act, at least one monster must be present: whether it be a re-animated head without a body, a creature with several legs, an alien, a ghoulie; basically anything that isn’t human and has undergone some process of “evil-i-zation” qualifies as a monster for the purpose of this article. Let’s have a look at some of the best monster-sex scenes in horror film history in order to really explore this question, deeper and deeper… and deeper!
    [Friendly reminder: Some of these clips are not entirely work-safe.]
    5. Megan gets “head” in Re-Animator
    Directed by Stuart Gordon in 1985, Re-Animator stars horror favorite Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West, a researcher who has found the secret to life after death in the form of a glowing liquid dubbed "the reagent." West teams with a medical student named Dan (Bruce Abbott) to dabble with the dead, starting with one unfortunate pet kitty cat. Their research is threatened by both a smarmy doctor (David Gale) eager to swipe their findings and the father of Dan's fiancée, Megan (Barbara Crampton). Stripped naked on a table top in the lab, the lovely Megan lays beside the severed head of Dr. Hill, and Dr. Hill can’t resist! He picks up his own reanimated severed head and sticks it between Megan’s legs. To be fair, he tries to warm her up a bit, kissing her breasts, and slowly licking his way down further to her stomach. Megan begs him to stop, and she tries to force the head off of her. Nothing works – this head is simply determined to give Megan some oral pleasures. We could argue that Dr. Hill isn’t a monster, but after undergoing the re-animation process, I beg to differ. And – how could this list exist without mention of this scene? Luckily for us spectators, Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) stops the charade before Dr. Hill gets the chance to really get in there. This scene defines the term “giving head” but if the sight of a disembodied head performing cunnilingus doesn’t mess with your psyche, then you’re much braver than I!
    4. Chucky and Tiff forget the condoms in Bride of Chucky
    I know, I know. It seems like an obvious choice, but this sex scene is hilarious – but it’s also oddly genuine. 1998 saw the release of Bride of Chucky, directed by Hong Kong cult favorite Ronny Yu. This newest installment in the Chucky chronicles has a campy and self-aware edge that the Chucky films essentially need in order to stay alive – Chucky has definitely become more camp than scare in the last several years. Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) has been searching for the plastic remains of her man for 10 years, and locates them in a police-evidence repository in some corner of hell, alongside the Michael Myers and Jason masks. She patches up the battered Chucky (Brad Dourif) doll and performs a voodoo rite that summons up Charles Lee Ray's nasty spirit. But Tiffany and Chucky have a lover's spat when he murders her and imprisons her soul in a tatty bride doll. Both in doll form, Chucky tells Tiff that he loves her after she brutally kills a couple with a champagne bottle as they are making love. After this macabre scene, Chucky realizes that Tiffany is the one. Chucky asks Tiff to marry him, and she responds with a simple and breathless, “Chucky…. Yes!”  She weeps as they embrace by the fire. That’s when the really romantic talk starts. Tiff asks, “I’m actually crying! I wonder if all the plumbing works…”, to which Chucky responds, “I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to feel like Pinocchio down here!” Chucky strips Tiff naked and we see their puppet-tongues dancing playfully with each other. Cue the hardcore humping and moaning.  
    When asking about a condom, no woman (or puppet) can resist the line, “Look at me! I’m all rubber!”  What is interesting about this monster sex scene is…  it’s almost romantic. It actually makes you feel closer to them as a couple. Dare I say it – but – after this scene, I find myself rooting for Chucky and Tiff in a way I didn’t think was possible. And there is much more Chucky where that comes from – another Chucky movie, Curse of Chucky, is slated to come out this year.
    3. Anna and the thrusting tentacle monster in Possession
    It’s hard to explain the plot of Possession in just a few sentences – there truly are few words for this film, and you’ll need to see it to know exactly what I’m talking about. Directed by Andrzej Zulawski, Possession is a true example of psychological horror. Anna (the incredible and impeccable Isabelle Adjani) leaves both her husband (Sam Neill) and her lover (Heinz Bennent) for a bizarre, tentacled creature that she keeps in a run-down Berlin apartment. In the beginning, her husband knows nothing about the monster and sincerely believes that his wife is insane. In fact, he may be insane as well. He has her tailed by private detectives, whom she kills and feeds to the creature. Even after he becomes aware of the creature, he is still passionately in love with his wife and he stays by her side and helps her conceal her crimes.
    Possession is such an overall mind-fuck that when the fucking between Anna (Isabelle Adjani) and her tentacle monster actually happens, you’re not that surprised. That being said, when the camera keeps rolling and you’re forced to watch the pelvic-thrusting movements of the monster, total and utter fascination ensues. The fact that Anna is cheating on her husband (Sam Neill) with this monster is also quite sexy. He hears her yelling in pleasure before he witnesses the scene, and when he does, he sees Anna completely wrapped up in the monster, his octopus-like tentacles all over her body. Adjani is just so stunningly beautiful and her performance in this film is so great – that you can’t help but get a little turned on just because she’s in such pleasure – regardless of the monster that is giving it to her. All Anna can do is yell out in ecstasy and moan, “Almost…. Almost!” Of course, this scene does have a major gross out factor: the sounds that the slippery, slimy monster makes as he’s fucking Anna are disgusting. Squishy thrusting sounds. Eww. Her husband looks away at first – but then he turns to Anna again, his eyes widened and luring. He can’t look away, and neither can we!
    2. Belial and Eve rock the cradle in Basket Case 2
    Basket Case 2 made me an even bigger fan of the first Basket Case. I had an even greater appreciation for the monsters and the makeup effects by Gabe Bartolis, but if we’re being honest here, the sex scene between Belial and Eve had me at “Hello”!  Starting from where the original Basket Case left off, we’re left to assume that Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck) and his monster-brother, Belial, had fallen out of a window and were presumed dead. As Frank Henenlotter’s Basket Case 2 opens, we learn that they survived and are in the hospital. They are rescued by freak-sympathizer and activist Granny Ruth (Annie Ross), who brings the brothers back to her home for unloved and unwanted freaks. Once there, she attempts to shield her charges from the interest of reporters, police, and those who would exploit the unfortunate. Meanwhile, Duane has to come to terms with his life now that he and Belial have had their revenge. It is in this house that all the sexy magic between Belial and his new freak girlfriend, Eve, takes place! It is worth mentioning that Belial isn’t a virgin – he actually rapes Sharon, Duane’s new girlfriend, in the original Basket Case. By raping her, he also ends up killing her. Belial is a tad perverted as well – he steals Casey’s (Beverly Bonner) red panties to hoard in his basket for safe & sexy keeping.
    Belial is at first very tender with Eve, as they caress each other’s dirty bits (which is literally every part of their body). Belial moans in pleasure, a soft piano track plays in the background, and this scene is intercut with a love scene between Belial’s brother, Duane and his new freak girlfriend.  That’s a whole lotta lovin’! Then Belial and Eve really get going in a full-blown bump and grind scene and if this doesn’t make you feel really dirty – the fact that they’re having sex in what looks like a baby-crib is sure to send you over the edge – and I’m not talking sexually! In fact, you may never be able to get turned on again. You’re welcome.
    1. The fat orgy in Society
    I thought I had seen it all – the most disturbing and lurid of subject matter in horror films. That is, until I saw Society (1989), directed by Brian Yuzna. What starts out as a harmless John Hugheses-que teen comedy ends in a disgusting, bodyfat-orgy of slime, sexual connotation, screaming and moaning. Bill Whitney doesn’t belong in Beverly Hills, he feels isolated and even his own parents don’t understand him. Fair enough, because Bill belongs to another species – a species that enjoys “shunting”, a word for body parts melting into other body parts, complete with slime and moaning and orgasms. It’s so gross. And that’s why we love it. A metaphor for class division in our society, this film is definitely more gross-out than turn-on.
    The general consensus?  The sex in horror films is better when it’s human-on-human before the blood bath! Also be sure to check out The Incubus (John Hough, 1982, starring John Cassavetes) for some hair metal demon-raping; the famous worm rape in Galaxy of Terror (Bruce D. Clark, 1981); and the swamp creature rape in Humanoids from the Deep (Barbara Peters, 1980).

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    Actor/director Shia LaBeouf caught our attention a while back with his graphic music video for Marilyn Manson's “Born Villain.” His latest visual opus is not as scandalous, but still contains a few decidedly shocking moments.
    The video for “Haunted Love,” a single from the dark synth-pop band Future Unlimited, becomes an exploration of abusive relationships, as seen from a distorted, nightmarish perspective. LaBeouf had recently been working with Lars Von Trier (Antichrist) on the upcoming film Nymphomaniac, and their association had an influence on the final product.
    “I started throwing him ideas of a scene, not for a video,” Shia explains. “This led of course to other topics, domestic abuse in history and so on... he was very encouraging towards my wanting to explore topics like this myself behind the camera. So between the magic of timing and having a genius as a bounce board, I wrote a script and contacted the band.”
    To interpret darkness and death in a new way, he drew on his work with director Alma Har'el (for the Sigur Ros video “Fjögur Píanó”) to create a symbolic dance in the Japanese butoh style: “It typically involves playful and grotesque imagery, taboo topics, extreme or absurd environments,” he says of the ancient art, “and is traditionally performed in white body makeup with slow, hyper-controlled motion, with or without an audience... I thought a woman losing her mind might be inspired to butoh privately.” The woman is played by Mia Goth, Shia's girlfriend and Nymphomaniac co-star.
    Now you've got the backstory, so press that play button and get ready for a gorgeous nightmare...


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    In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, director and Holliston star Adam Green is going home to raise money to aid the victims and families of those most affected by the bombings.

    Over the weekend of May 28th-30th, Green will be hosting a variety of events, including a Holliston season two advanced screening and panel; a party; an auction; and a Hatchet movie marathon - including the world premiere of the long-awaited Hatchet III.

    So we have a whole bunch of links for you:

    Bid on a date with Adam Green

    Buy tickets for any (or all!) of the Boston festivities

    Learn more about and donate to The One Fund

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    supernaturalSupernatural Episode 823
    Written By: Jeremy Carver
    Directed By: Phil Sgriccia
    Original Airdate: 15 May 2013

    In This Episode...

    Dean calls Crowley - they are ready to make a deal. The Winchesters will hand over the demon tablet and Crowley will stop killing people they saved. Dean also wants the angel tablet back. The brothers meet Crowley to sign the contract but before they do, Dean snaps demon handcuffs on Crowley. “You’re our bitch.” The boys take Crowley to an abandoned seaside church, chained up and demon-trapped and all that. Castiel shows up to take Dean to help seal up heaven while Sam begins his hourly blood dosing with Crowley. 

    Castiel has run into some problems with his and Metatron’s plan to shut heaven. Namely that one of Naomi’s spies has ID’d Metatron as the scribe, and absconded with him back to heaven where she began torturing him to probe information out of his brain. Castiel wants Dean’s help in completing the second angel trial: getting cupid’s bow. When they finally find a cupid, she admits that she has been scared to go home for some time and is happy to help the efforts to repair heaven. She hands over her bow (a tattoo that must be carved off her palm) willingly. Naomi visits, begging Castiel to reconsider. Her probing of Metatron complete, she has learned that Metatron has been lying to him the whole time. He is looking for vengeance for being cast out of heaven, and wants to expel angels the same way he was. Naomi’s goal has always been to help the Winchesters close the gates of hell, even though Sam will die upon completion - God always planned it that way, the ultimate sacrifice. Castiel insists Naomi is lying, but Dean is shaken and demands to be taken back to his brother. Frankly, I am surprised at how naive Dean is - I thought it was fairly obvious that Sam wouldn’t survive this.

    Back at the church, Sam is in bad shape. During one of his doses, Crowley takes a big bite out of Sam’s arm, just to be a jerk. While Sam tends to his wound, Crowley spits the Winchester blood into his palm and (for lack of a better word) prays to his disciples for help. Help arrives in the form of Abbadon, but she isn’t too keen on freeing Crowley. “Why do you get to be the king of hell?” So she starts beating him up. Sam surprises her with a dousing of lighter fluid and an entire book of lit matches. She burns up and her black smoke monster flies out the window. Crowley is genuinely grateful to Sam, a clear sign that the cure is working. He is surprised when Sam re-seals the demon trap and continues on with “curing him.” Just before Sam can administer the final dose of blood, Dean bursts in, begging his brother to stop. Even after Dean explains that Sam will die, Sam wants to continue. He sees his death being worth it if it means sealing up hell, but Dean talks him out of it and tells him to let go. The glowing in Sam’s arm subsides and whatever “power” the trials put in him fades. The boys head outside, where Sam doubles over in agony, unable to breathe. A meteor shower fills the sky. But those aren’t meteors...

    Castiel has returned to heaven to “fix his home.” Upon arriving, he discovers that Naomi was right all along. Metatron killed her, and is waiting for Castiel. The two weren’t completing trials; they were collecting elements Metatron needed for a spell. The final ingredient is Cas’s “essence,” a glowy blue substance that he bleeds from Cas’s neck. Castiel is now human. Metatron sends him to earth. Cas wakes up in the middle of nowhere and has to walk. The meteor shower? Nope, those are fallen angels, about to storm the earth.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    This is how you do a season finale. I felt like much of the season was a little bit unfocused - too many threads. But this episode really tied them all together, did so in a clear and interesting way, with lots of humor. It was basically everything you want in an episode of Supernatural. There were no surprises here, but that is okay. Metatron was obviously lying to Castiel. Sam was clearly going to die when he finished the trials.  I have a hard time with the idea that Cas is now human, but I think that Crowley is going to join with the Winchesters to keep the fallen angels at bay and of course, protect his station as the king of hell. 

    Sibling Rivalry

    In trying to convince Dean to let him finish the trials, Sam admits that in his blood-purifying confession, he confessed to how many times he let Dean down. That is what he feels worst about, and he doesn’t want to feel that anymore. Dean insists that there is nothing he wouldn’t put ahead of Sam: not the monsters that killed their mother, not Benny, not anyone. He is actually begging Sam to abort the trial - and he listens. 

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    An ambassador, Neil Wardh (Alberto de Mendoza), and his wanton wife, Julie (Edwige Fenech), arrive in Vienna for business in the midst of a vicious killing spree that has everyone in a panic. Julie's return to the city rouses memories of former lover Jean (Ivan Rassimov) and their sadomasochistic relationship. It also helps that her husband is utterly dull, busy, and inattentive. The restless Julie has a dark secret that only Jean knows about: blood frightens her, but it also arouses her unimaginably. Julie's cruel ex-boyfriend stalks her and sends unnerving love letters, but she finds comfort at swinging parties and in the arms of another man, George (George Hilton). As the city's body count begins to rise, and a mysterious caller threatens to expose her adulterous and kinky secrets, Julie suspects she's next and that Jean is behind the murders and madness. She escapes to Spain with George for a fresh start, but death follows her. In typical giallo fashion, a series of plot twists and red herrings leads to a tension-filled finale that reveals all isn't what it seems.

    The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh was Sergio Martino's first entry in the giallo canon and remains one of the most powerful, stylish, and sultry of the genre. The 1971 film was also one of the first gialli that starred the alluring Edwige Fenech. Both director and screen siren (as well as Rassimov and Hilton) would go on to collaborate on the sexadelic All the Colors of the Dark and the awesomely titled Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key— which is a line that appears in one of Jean's letters to Julie. It's a shame the underrated filmmaker created only five films in the genre, but they're easily as evocative as gialli's greatest.

    The most visually striking moments in the movie take place during intoxicating — and violent — slow-motion dream sequences that recall the sadistic relationship Jean shared with Julie, set to Nora Orlandi's seductive, eerie score. (The lovers' theme song, "Dies Irae," would later appear in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 2.) The scenes embody the heady blend of sex and death that the genre is known for. But the genuinely entertaining performances aren't limited to sex scenes. Strange Vice is one of the rare gialli that features compelling dialogue — with a few biblical references thrown in for added naughtiness — and convincing acting, even while several of its stars saunter around topless. Look for several influential set pieces that appeared in later films — like the park stalking that predates a similar scene in Argento's Four Flies on Grey Velvet. Imaginatively framed shots, exotic locations, plenty of black gloves, and gleaming switchblades add to the potency of Strange Vice's psychosexual atmosphere, making it essential viewing.


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    Magnet Releasing has just unleashed a new trailer for V/H/S/2, the sequel to last year's popular found-footage anthology, which you can watch below courtesy of Yahoo! Movies. It's loaded with new footage, including a fair amount of splatter (and a brief shot of boobies, so it's not work-safe). They also unveiled the new promo stills you see here.
    V/H/S/2 marks the return of writers/directors Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard (You're Next), joined by Blair Witch Project veterans Eduardo Sanchez and Gregg Hale, as well as Timo Tjahjanto (Macabre), Gareth Huw Evans (The Raid) and Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun). It's slated for theatrical release on iTunes/On Demand June 6th, and will see a limited theatrical run on July 12th.
    Check out the trailer now!

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    If you recall, Guillermo del Toro recently shared more footage from his upcoming summer blockbuster Pacific Rim (which you can see in this article), and that was definitely cool... but you ain't seen nothin' yet. Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures just launched a new trailer that ups the awesome factor in a big way.
    The trailer sports plenty of new footage of Kaiju (giant monsters) clashing with Jaegers (piloted giant robots), including more epic disaster scenes, oceanic action and a narrated backstory... plus that Kaiju footprint shot is pretty sweet. 
    Pacific Rim smashes into theaters on July 12th. Power up that trailer!

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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?
    The acrid smell of smoke hangs in the air. A gunshot pops off in the distance. You hear a scream a few blocks away. The terrible groaning and moaning rises in volume like a sick chorus. You're trapped in town center, and the only way out is the helipad. If only you could remember where it was… Zombies!!!, by Twilight Creations, takes all the wonderful, scary, and campy tropes of a classic zombie movie and recreates them for your tabletop. Two to six players act as gun wielding survivors of a zombie apocalypse in this tile-laying game, and the goal is to make it to the helipad first.
    Game Mechanics
    All players start on the town center tile, ready to explore this zombified city and make their way out. A stack of city tiles are placed near the play space, and each turn a player draws a city tile and places somewhere where it will fit on the play space. Each tile is either a named building, like the Hospital or Skate Shop, or a bit of city block. As you explore, each tile will have a set number of zombies that come with it. The more you explore, the greater the hordes of undead grow.
    Each tile that's placed down may also come with a set number of ammo and health tokens. As a player defeats zombies, he or she will be able to scoop up the necessary equipment to help them traverse the town. 
    Each player also draws three special cards. These cards may slow down your opponent or help you. Some of them are just actions that happen, while others are item cards. These item cards must be played when at certain named buildings. For instance, the skateboard is an item that increases your speed, but you must have the card and make it to the skate shop to unlock the skateboard. This aspect of the game keeps it very interesting, as players must decide whether they want to head straight forward or meander to pick up items.
    Zombies are killed with a roll of the dice, and the first person to flip and make it to the helipad wins!
    Replay Value
    I love these board games where you're building the board each time you play. The city tiles are shuffled up, and you never know what building, street, or problem you're going to flip next. That keeps what would have otherwise been a pretty simple game very fresh.
    Overall Impressions
    I've been staring at this game on shelves of various board game and comic shops since it came out in 2001. And only now am I playing it. I've watched as its expansions continue to grow and grow, each one tempting me with it's funny, tongue in cheek artwork. This is a great game, I don't know what took me so long to play it. My favorite mechanic in the game is the item collection. I spent half the game with the fire axe item card, just waiting to flip the firehouse so I could boost all my attacks. It feels like a video game in this regard, and it's an exciting concept. I want to play Zombies!!! over and over again. And with over ten expansions out for it, this won't be the last you hear from Zombies!!!

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    Unless you’ve been in a coma or trapped in a subterranean bunker, you’ve seen that zombies are a pretty big deal in games these days.  Resident Evil was like Bill Hinzman in that lonely graveyard in Night of the Living Dead, the precursor to a flesh-hungry mob that’s infested every facet of gaming from cartoony strategy titles (Plants vs. Zombies) to multi-million dollar FPS franchises (Call of Duty).  Except Resident Evil was far from the first…there were games that featured the living dead long before the first Playstation was every connected to that old Zenith tube in the living room.  So put on your ironic black plastic glasses and take a look at these hipster zombie games…the games that had zombies before it was cool.

    Halloween Harry/Alien Carnage

    Borne out of the shareware boom of the early 1990’s, which gave us classics like Wolfenstein 3D and DOOM, Halloween Harry (later retitled Alien Carnage so it didn’t feel quite so seasonal) set players in the combat boots of the titular hero as he repelled an alien invasion.  Of course, those aliens had to turn people into mindless flesh-munchers as part of their insidious plan (don’t they always?) and Harry had to use his jetpack and arsenal of firepower (including a super-satisfying flamethrower) to reduce the shambling zombies to piles of smoldering bones.  The game was released as freeware back in 2007, so you can scratch your retro itch for absolutely nothing.  Nice!




    Isle of the Dead

    Dead Island wasn’t the first game to feature zombies overrunning an island, but it certainly did a much better job at it than Isle of the Dead.  Released by Merit Software (ironic, as the game had no merit), Isle of the Dead tried to integrate point-and-click adventure elements with FPS action…and failed at both.  The 90-degree angles of the rendering engine weren’t very effective at conveying an organic environment like a tropical jungle, and the adventure elements were unceremoniously shoehorned in.  In its defense, the death animations are a hoot and the zombie types are suitably gruesome (although what’s up with the bodybuilder Speedo zombie?), but the game’s music, which you’ll hear in the video below, made the Wolfenstein 3D music sound like it was played by the Royal Philharmonic.



    Corpse Killer

    Corpse Killer may have reared its rotting head well before zombies were in vogue, but it has the shame of being part of the most insidious trend of its time: “interactive” movies.  The advent of CD-ROM technology now gave developers, who were used to cramming their titles on a handful of 3.5” floppy disks, the then-massive capacity of 650 MB to hock their wares.  Unfortunately, many used this increased storage for horribly compressed digital video (another new technology of the era) and the interactive movie was born.  Digital Pictures was one of the most notorious distributors of this dreck, filling the Sega CD library with the notorious Night Trap, as well as other barely-interactive crap like Marky Mark: Make My VideoCorpse Killer at least upped the interaction by making the game into a light-gun shooter, allowing players to blast their way across an island overrun with zombies (there it is again).  Unfortunately, it also featured the same problems that plagued most of Digital Pictures’ output: barrel-scraping production values.  You can check it out in the video below, although I would like to preface it with an apology to Jamaicans everywhere.



    Beast Busters

    Keeping with the light-gun theme, Beast Busters has the infamy of being the last arcade game released by SNK before they released the Neo Geo, and it was a doozy.  Beast Busters was rife with lunacy, including a knife-throwing punk zombie that mutates into a killer canine and zombie football players being carried by giant birds.  The mix of fast action and splatter was a minor hit, and a Beast Busters arcade cabinet was allegedly brought on tour with video game fanatic and King of Pop Michael Jackson.



    Zombies Ate My Neighbors

    A true cult classic, Zombies Ate My Neighbors is easily the most recognizable title in the list.  Developed by LucasArts and published by Konami, ZAMN was a top-down shooter that wore its love of B-movies on its sleeve.  Players had to both eliminate the zombie threat and save their neighbors (the ones that hadn’t been eaten, I suppose), and the results were one of the best games of the 16-bit era.




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    Jim Mickle's We Are What We Are, a remake of the 2010 Mexican film of the same name, is having its debut in Cannes this week. The first official clip from the film has been released:

    The official synopsis: A seemingly wholesome and benevolent family, the Parkers have always kept to themselves, and for good reason. Behind closed doors, patriarch Frank (Bill Sage, BOARDWALK EMPIRE) rules his family with a rigorous fervor, determined to keep his ancestral customs intact at any cost.  As a torrential rainstorm moves into the area, tragedy strikes and his daughters Iris (Ambyr Childers) and Rose (Julia Garner) are forced to assume responsibilities that extend beyond those of a typical family.  As the unrelenting downpour continues to flood their small town, the local authorities begin to uncover clues that bring them closer to the secret that the Parkers have held closely for so many years.

    We Are What We Are will get a U.S. theatrical release this fall.

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    ADO2After Dark Films, the company behind the “8 Films To Die For” horror film series (aka After Dark Horrorfest), has revealed that the fourth entry in their second “After Dark Originals” lineup will be the cult thriller Children of Sorrow.
    Directed by Jourdan McClure (read our interview with McClure about his film Rogue River) and written by Ryan Finnerty (Rogue River, Smosh), Children of Sorrow stars veteran horror actor Bill Oberst Jr. (who shocked the social media world in the interactive thriller Take This Lollipop) as cult leader Simon Leach, whose desert commune seems like the promised land for his troubled followers... who are unaware of his more sinister intentions.
    “Belongingness can be a terrifying subject, even more so when acceptance is disingenuous,” McClure says. “Children of Sorrow is the nightmare version of that."
    The first After Dark Originals series launched in 2011, and their current slate features Red Clover (directed by FEARnet's "School of Fear" blogger Drew Daywalt), Dark Circles and Asylum. Find out more at their official site and Facebook page.

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    true bloodLast week I reviewed the Dexter season seven blu-ray set to much disappointment. In complete contrast, the True Blood season five blu-ray set has everything that you want in a box set.

    Each episode has an option called “True Blood Enhanced Viewing.” Playing like a less-obtrusive Pop-Up Video, with this option on, you get lower third graphics with insights into the scene. I like that they slide on and off the screen without a little pop-up sound. These aren’t behind-the-scenes tidbits - those you get from the various commentaries. These are story-based: details on character relationships and histories; things from former seasons that you may have forgotten; biographies of minor characters; details that aren’t mentioned in the episode (like the name of songs playing and what is in Lafayette’s Cajun margaritas), and questions to ease you into watching a little more critically (like, “Jason is the only one who is seeing his parents - but is it really due to his recent head injury?” or “What could Bill’s reasons be for lying to Salome?”) I really like these pop-ups. It breathes new life into episodes you have likely seen multiple times, and it adds depth for the hardcore, obsessive viewers.

    Another unique feature of the True Blood set is the “True Blood Lines.” It is basically a family tree for True Blood characters. They are divided up into species (human, werewolf, vampire, shapeshifter, fairy) and clicking on a character brings up a photo, description, and links to other characters to whom they are connected. The layout of each screen is a little inelegant, but with so many characters, I imagine it was tough to code the disc. Also, only season five characters are included here - but there is an “Archive” section that allows you to get quick details on other characters throughout the show’s history.

    Additional features include “Authority Confessionals” (members of the Authority tell their story directly to camera like reality-show confessionals); some behind-the-scenes featurettes with cast and crew; and select episode audio commentaries from Alan Ball, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Denis O’Hare, Carrie Preston, and more.

    Side note: the surround sound on this set was awesome - it drove my dog nuts. He only goes nuts when audio is very realistic. So there you go - dog approved!

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