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FEARNET.com News and Reviews

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    Killer POV podcast on GeekNation with BJ McDonell Hatchet 3

    Stoked for 'Hatchet III?' Or are you just a fan of horror sequels in general? Well then this new episode of GeekNation's podcast 'Killer POV' is for you! Rob Galluzzo (FEARnet, Icons Of Fright), Rebekah McKendry (Fangoria) and Elric Kane (Inside Horror) welcome special guest BJ McDonnell (director of 'Hatchet 3') for the 15th episode of 'Killer POV' in which their topic of discussion is Horror Franchise Part 3's! Some of the obvious choices are all mentioned including 'A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors,' 'The Exorcist 3: Legion,' and 'Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch,' but what other surprising sequels come up in the conversation? Also, BJ opens up about the challenges of directing the upcoming anticipated sequel 'Hatchet 3,' how his friend Rob Zombie helped & influenced his filmmaking and what it was like working with genre stars we grew up watching. All this and more at the GeekNation website, or just listen via the embedded player below!

     

     

     


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    Licensed games are always an iffy discussion over here at FEARnet.  For every game that does justice to its cinematic source material (Chronicles of Riddick, The Walking Dead: The Video Game), there is a seemingly endless supply of dubious cash-ins that use their cross-media inspiration to help push mediocre products (The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct).  Sadly, this practice is nothing new, as horror movies’ inherently taboo nature made them prime for adaptation to the video game market even in the industry’s infancy.  Let’s take a glaring look back at some of the earliest adaptations of movies to microchips…the Lost Licenses!

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Atari 2600)

    Home video game consoles were still in their very first generation when The Texas Chainsaw Massacre hit the Atari 2600.  Tobe Hooper’s grimy classic offered plenty of gruesome scares and unsettling images that stuck with the viewer long after the last reel had finished, but something was definitely lost in translation on Atari’s woodgrained box.  Players take up the bloodstained Stihl of Leatherface as he tromps back and forth across a field, looking to rend his victims for points.  Sadly, the limited audiovisual capabilities of the Atari 2600 meant that we were controlling a very sad and dumpy Peanuts character that stabbed at his prey with a pulsing blue penis.  Don’t believe me?  Just check it out below.

    Bonus points for trying to emulate that old “flash recharge” sound in the system’s sound chip, but the rest of it?  Not even scraps worthy of sausage.

    Halloween (Atari 2600)

    John Carpenter’s iconic telling of the night he came home was adapted to the 2600 by a small company called Wizard Video in 1983.  Wizard had fallen on hard financial times, and as a result sold many copies of their game without a printed label, opting instead for a hand-written title on a bit of masking tape.

    The game seems to hold true to its source material: you play as Laurie Strode trying to get as many children out of the house before Michael Myers can reduce them to mangled minors.  Every time the Shape comes on screen, Carpenter’s inimitable theme is played…ad nauseum.  However, the game deserves some notoriety as Myers would gleefully decapitate Strode, leaving her headless body to run around spurting red pixels from its stump almost 10 years before Mortal Kombat had your parents and politicians alike losing their minds.

    Friday the 13th (Nintendo Entertainment System)

    The glory days of the NES are certainly viewed through rose-colored glasses.  While that console generation gave us classic franchises that persist to this day (primarily first-party Nintendo franchises like Super Mario Brothers, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid), there were still scads of terrible licensed titles to wade through.  One company in particular, LJN, was especially notorious for putting out miserable adaptations of everything from Alien 3 to X-Men, using their sales-friendly licenses to overcome terrible gameplay. 

    Friday the 13thcertainly fit this miserable mold, taking the simple tale of a monstrous man-child in a hockey mask and making it…weird.  You, as one of six camp counselors, had to try and rescue children from Jason Voorhees while fighting off enemies like wolves and zombies (no wonder they keep shutting down Camp Crystal Lake) and navigating the most incomprehensible map imaginable.  When you finally faced your hockey-masked protagonist, he was a rather dapper purple-and-blue combination and absolutely huge (soon to be available action figure from NECA).  It was a striking image and oddly exhilarating (this author may have a painting on his office wall of the game’s sprite), but it didn’t make up for the miserable game surrounding it.

    A Nightmare on Elm Street (Nintendo Entertainment System)

    Another 80’s horror franchise bastardized by LJN, A Nightmare on Elm Street took the plot device of the best film in the series (Dream Warriors, duh) and had players racing through environments trying to collect Freddy’s bones (which, strangely, all appeared to be tibias) and face off against the child-killer in his various forms.

    While on initial glance the game is another cheap cash-in (I don’t remember all of those giant spiders and houseflies harassing poor Neil in the movie), some genuine care and thought was put into making the game more of a true NOES experience.  You have an alertness meter, which can be refilled with coffee, which teleports you to the dream world when it is depleted, and your character becomes a superpowered Dream Warrior during many of the boss battles.  It still wasn’t very good, but the effort was certainly far greater than LJN’s usual output.


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    Last week we tipped you off to the excellent Zombie art exhibit going on now in New York's Last Rites Gallery (more info here). At the show's opening night last Saturday, renowned horror artist Joshua Hoffine unveiled his latest masterpiece Last Stand, a 40-inch art photo starring none other than Phantasm hero A. Michael Baldwin as as a father desperately defending his family against a horde of walking dead... and losing ground quickly, it seems.
     
    Last_Stand
    Hoffine's signature style involves often elaborately staged photographs of horror scenarios, many digitally composited and enhanced to pit humans against horrific creatures with cinematic special effects (visit his blog for lots of info and behind-the-scenes images). Last Stand is his most ambitious project to date, successfully financed by a Kickstarter campaign. Co-starring with Baldwin are many of Hofffine's friends and family, including his youngest daughter. The photo re-stages the sketch below, which was first posted in Hoffine's KickStarter video.
     
    Last_Stand_sketch
     
    “A. Michael Baldwin gave a wonderful performance,” Hoffine wrote on his latest blog update. “The gunshot to the head was achieved using flash paper and black powder fired through a prop head sculpted by Ryan Pintar. I then combined these elements with the kneeling zombie actor and Baldwin firing the gun on set using Photoshop.”
     
    A 40-inch print of Last Stand is currently on view and for sale at NYC's Last Rites Gallery, and prints are also selling on Hoffine's official site. The show runs through June 26th. Check out their site and Facebook page for details.

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    Michael Shaw Fisher, the creator of last year's hit musical Doomsday Cabaret, returns to the Hollywood Fringe Festival with the musical comedy Exorcistic: The Rock Parody Experiment.
     
    Exorcistic1
     
    Exorcistic began as a much different concept (the story of a demonically possessed lounge singer), but after the project gained the interest and input of Exorcist author William Peter Blatty (who was involved in a straight Exorcist play at the time), it soon escalated into a more direct parody of Blatty's story. Fisher says it's now about a highbrow but failing theatre company trying to capitalize on the 40th anniversary of The Exorcist with a pretentious rock musical experiment. 
     
    Unlike past musical parodies of Evil Dead, Re-Animator and Silence of the Lambs, Fisher and company are taking a more “meta” approach: “We watch the show go from being a staged reading to the Hollywood fringe, to becoming a huge hit,” he told Broadwayworld.com, “all while the company is summoning dark forces they don't understand.”
     
    Exorcistic2
    Fisher also reported that he may be collaborating with Blatty on a future musical based on the author's Demons Five, Exorcists Nothing.
     
    The Hollywood Fringe Festival is an open platform for cutting-edge artists, whose work is presented with no curators or censorship, and Exorcistic is one of the first shows this year, beginning its run on June 8th (with a preview show on the 6th) and playing several dates through the month. Visit their Facebook page for details!

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    New comic book Wednesday has come and gone. The dust at your local comic shop has settled. An eerie silence descends as you finish reading your last superhero book of the week. Now it's time for something a little more sinister. Welcome to Bagged and Boarded: comic reviews of the sick, spooky, twisted and terrifying!
     
    BPRDB.P.R.D. Vampire No. 3 of 5
     
    B.P.R.D. Vampire continues to spin on its lovely little axis. Set in the B.P.R.D. timeline in the 1940's, the comic follows a guy who's just slightly possessed by two evil spirits. He's out on a hunt for an old vampire living in seclusion. Our hero (well, I guess he's really an anti-hero) recently fell into a big old crypt somewhere in the Eastern Block, and now he's face to face with his prey.
     
    Bag it or board it up? This issue ended crazily! This could have been the end of the series right here, and everyone would have gone "oh damn!" But this is Mignola, he keeps it going and keeps ratcheting up the awesome.
     
    VitriolVitriol The Hunter No. 4
     
    Vitriol is the story of a man who, I don't know, I think he's raised from the dead to fight a vampire plague? Or, if he's not raised from the dead, then he spends a lot of time in a graveyard? It's all very The Crow to me. But it's set about 150 years in the future, where a bunch of nasty vampires are out to kill the populace. Also there are people with chest-containers holding a serum that will turn them into werewolves on command.
     
    Bag it or board it up? In theory this is a cool comic. It's got vampires, guns, the future, and werewolves. I like all these things. But it's all done a bit ham-handedly. The characters speak in platitudes and blurt out their backstories. And the artwork is supposed to look cartoonish, but it ends up looking a little rushed.
     
    Last_of_UsThe Last of Us: American Dreams No. 2 of 4
     
    This comic is a tie-in to the Naughty Dog produced game The Last of Us. Ellie and Riley are two girls in a military boarding school. A nasty fungal outbreak has turned the world as we know it into a fungal-zombie (my favorite kind) nightmare. But Riley doesn't want to spend her whole life in some military compound, and when she sneaks out, Ellie follows.
     
    Bag it or board it up? This was a great issue. No monsters, no huge threats (until the end), just great character development and world-building. The artwork on this comic is wonderful, too, with somber colors and moody shading. Definitely check this series out!
     
    GodzillaGodzilla No. 12
     
    All the monsters! This comic gives you all the monsters you could ever want. It's amazingly vast in its scope and the breadth of its destruction. The Godzilla monster itself is kind of the hero (but not really). In this issue, a group of resistance fighters are caught in a sinking Mechagodzilla and they have to try and fire off a giant cannon before they drown.
     
    Bag it or board it up? Oh man, Godzilla. I can't even hide my bias here. I grew up watching Godzilla movies, playing the SNES Ultraman video game, and staying up past midnight to watch bootleg Mystery Science Theater 3000 VHS tapes that I got off internet 1.0. You know, the ones where they riff on Gamera  and the like? I'm a sucker for giant monsters, and this comic is a beautiful one. The art is definitely not what you'd expect, either. It kind of looks like an indie comic!

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    Earlier this month we shared the latest details on this year's “GWAR-B-Q,” the annual meat-and-metal orgy held this year on Saturday, August 17th at Hadad's Lake Water Park in Richmond, Virginia, lorded over by the galaxy's premier rock monsters GWAR. The band recently rolled out this year's promo video for the event, featuring lovable mascot “Grill Ghoul,” which you can watch here:
     
     
    The lineup of bands supporting GWAR at the event has now been finalized, and includes Municipal Waste, Corrosion of Conformity, Pig Destroyer, Cannabis Corpse, Loincloth, X-Cops (who are reuniting just for this show), Warbeast, Battlecross, Wilson, Mobile Death Camp, Volture and Kung-Fu Dykes.
     
    Tickets go on sale June 6th at gwarbq.com, and are offered in three different versions: Standard at $30 grants general access to all main events; Deluxe at $40 includes a 2013 GWAR-B-Q t-shirt (“actually rubbed on Beefcake's ass at one point or another,” the band claims); Premium at $100 includes the shirt, a GWAR-B-Q 2012 DVD, and a VIP Pass for the "Meat & Beat" signing session. The Premium package also includes admission to before and after-party events (where you may actually see GWAR out of costume!) and a chance to join the band onstage for humiliation and/or dismemberment.

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    Laughing_Poster

    By 1976, giallo cinema had already reached its peak, and different postwar paranoia icons increasingly replaced the black-gloved killers of the past. Coming off a co-screenwriting turn (uncredited) for Pier Paolo Pasolini's controversial masterpiece Salò, director Pupi Avati brought Italy's social and political unrest from the period to the countryside for his community terror tale, The House with the Laughing Windows. The filmmaker wanted to channel the pastoral, Catholic fears from his childhood for his low-budget horror film, but the influence of previous rural-set gialli like Sergio Martino's Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key and Fulci's Don't Torture a Duckling are present. 
     
    Laughing2
     
    Avati introduces us to Stefano (Lino Capolicchio), who has been sent to an Italian village to restore a church fresco that depicts the death of Saint Sebastian — or so he thinks. A strange cast of characters greets him, including the mayor (the token little person with something to hide), a sadistic hotel steward, the resident nymphomaniac, an alcoholic driver, and a paraplegic woman confined to an isolated house where Stefano is forced to stay during his artistic assignment. The village's dark past is soon unveiled after a series of bizarre events and brutal murders. Stefano learns that the mural's creator was a tortured madman, known as the "painter of agony," who sought inspiration for his grisly paintings through some extreme methods. He uncovers a disturbing recording and secret journal that belonged to the artist, which only fuels his obsession with the town's hidden depravity. Stefano quickly realizes that the house with the laughing windows is harboring more than secrets.
     
    Laughing3
     
    The film builds a sense of dread from the very beginning. The opening credits feature hazy footage of a man strung up and stabbed repeatedly, and the eerie stillness of the remote setting — coupled with Avati's effective framing — adds to the growing unease. The associations between art and death, and illusion and reality, are emphasized throughout. In the dreamworld, a house is usually a symbol of our own bodies, and the bodies of Avati's film endure great suffering (immolation and rape included). But the director doesn't use gory corpses to freak us out. He relies on disembodied scares instead: footsteps, voices, breath, creaking, and shadows. The minimal score inadvertently adds to the disquiet (composer Amedeo Tommasi was limited by the low budget and lack of equipment). The heady visual excess of previous gialli is absent, but there are a number of surreal images that linger — like a fridge full of live snails Stefano's lover Francesca tries to rescue (even though refrigerating snails induces hibernation) and a funeral scene in which the maniacal caretaker has thrust an animal inside the casket to devour the corpse. And the house with the "laughing" windows, of course.
     
    Laughing1
     
    Those who live for atmospheric chills and the slow-burning thrills of movies like Don't Look Now will appreciate The House with the Laughing Windows. If Avati's quiet brand of horror satisfies, be sure to check out his 1983 film Zeder (aka Revenge of the Dead), which is an unusual departure from the typical Italian zombie fare, focusing on mystery and the supernatural instead.
     

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    teen wolfWith every season, Teen Wolfproves that it is growing up, and season three is no exception. We’ve seen the first two episodes; here are some things to look forward to in the new season.

    The big-bad this season is a pack of alphas.

    Sounds pretty tame, right? Derek is an alpha; Scott is an alpha. They don’t seem too scary. Well, these new alphas that roll into town are have a plot, and have a special skill that I don’t want to ruin for you. You will find out in the first few minutes of the season, and it will make you say “WTF?”

    When animals attack...

    The wildlife in Beacon Hills is going nuts. A deer attacks Alison and Lydia’s car. Birds carpet-bomb the school. The dogs and cats at the animal hospital kill themselves violently. Lydia’s little purse-dog, Prada, bites her ankle. Are they scared of the alphas... or is there something else in Beacon Hills?

    We meet more of Derek’s family.

    Uncle Peter is back, but we also meet someone we haven’t met before...

    The boys get naked. A lot.

    And for no reason. I lost track of how many times, but in two episodes it was at least a dozen times. Interestingly enough, the girls don’t get naked at all.

    Missing persons.

    In last year’s disappointing season finale, the logical thing would have been for Jackson to die. He didn’t die, but he did leave the show a few months later. So rather than the thoroughly logical plan of just killing off Jackson, he spends his summer in London with Alison and Lydia and simply decides to stay.

    Meanwhile, Derek is desperate to find Erica and Boyd. They have been missing for months and most everyone else has forgotten about them, but not Derek. We will find them in episode two,  but neither are unscathed.

    Teen Wolf starts its third season on June 3rd on MTV.


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    We've all seen plenty of zombie movies. And we've all seen plenty of demon movies. But have you ever seen a zemon movie? You are about to. 

    Dead Before Dawn 3D is the third film from director April Mullen and follows a group of college kids who unleash an ancient curse that creates a legion of half-zombies, half-demons - zemons.

    FEARnet has your exclusive first look at Dead Before Dawn 3D, with the official trailer and a clip.

     

     

     

    Official synopsis: Casper Galloway (Devon Bostick) and his college friends visit an occult shop run by Casper’s grandfather (Christopher Lloyd) and accidentally unleash an evil curse, causing people to kill themselves and turn in to Zombie Demons, aka Zemons.  Armed with a slew of homemade weapons and a Winnebago, the college kids race through the night, killing Zemons and fighting time while frantically searching for a way to reverse the curse within 24 hours.  As the Zemon army starts to overpower the team, Casper finds himself with no choice but to face his fears and become the unlikeliest of heroes.

    Dead Before Dawn 3D will be available on VOD on August 2nd and in theaters September 6th.


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    It's not easy to maintain a firm sense of humor in a movie about two people who fall in love while corpses keep piling up, but I'm not at all surprised to learn that the British madman known as Ben Wheatley (Down Terrace, Kill List) has found a way to pull it off. The man's latest effort will be a big hit with genre geeks who remember cult films like Eating Raoul (1982) and Psychos in Love (1987), but Sightseers is still clever enough to appeal to general movie-watchers. 
     
    And by "general movie-watchers" I mean people who don't normally see romantic comedies in which a half-dozen people get murdered in casual yet amusingly gory fashion. 
     
    Simple synopsis for an enjoyably simple movie: Chris (Steve Oram) and Tina (Alice Lowe) have been dating for three months, and (much to the chagrin of her hilariously unpleasant mother) they've decided to get away for a long weekend in his caravan. (Note for American audiences: "caravan" means "RV" or "Winnebago.") Chris has a checkered past but seems like a perfectly sweet guy; Tina seems a little goofy but certainly sweet enough to romance... so off they go.
     
    Let's just say the lovers' little road trip quickly becomes, well, littered with corpses. I'll just leave it at that. Sightseers has a few fun surprises in store, but even if it didn't, this 82-minute black comedy would be worth seeing solely for the droll and wonderfully appealing chemistry between the two leads. Co-writers and co-stars, Lowe and Oram work off each other like a veteran comedy team, and some of the movie's funniest moments have that sweet spark of natural improvisation.
     
    The material seems a natural fit for Ben Wheatley and his team. The film plays like a straight-laced romance, complete with lovely landscapes and witty banter, and when things take a turn for the worse (as in all those murders I mentioned earlier), Sightseers doesn't linger on the horror too long. The matter-of-fact tone of the look, feel, and sound of the movie is what makes the shocking bits work so well.
     

    Not only does Sightseers satisfy in a sly and very quick fashion, but it also stands as a testament to what you can pull off with no money, a few good ideas, a handful of talented people, and some really pretty locations. Whether or not Sightseers contains any deep or symbolic insights about the ironic nature of "the average idiot" is up to the viewer to decide. I do know it's quite a bit smarter than your average comedy/horror combination, but mostly I just really enjoyed the trip.

    READ FEARnet's PARTNER REVIEWS OF SIGHTSEERS


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    Conopoly

    Inspired by old-school electronic music, '80s video games, cartoons and other retro fantasies, Canadian duo Volt 9000 (alias Cory Gorski & Andrew Dobbels ) blend analog post-industrial experimentation with club-worthy beats, pop melodies and moody vocals, sometimes sprinkling the concoction with vintage movie & game samples and glitchy 8-bit accents; the end product is often a nostalgic freestyle for fans of classic gaming, synth sci-fi & horror soundtracks, and '80s & '90s pop culture, and has resonated well with fans of Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly (both of whom have new work out this year, by the way) and other landmark industrial acts. That style served the team well on their first albums Retrogenesis and Atomica, but for their third full-length release Conopoly, which drops tomorrow from Artoffact Records, the band focus their retro-futuristic powers on a much darker theme – namely a creepy near-future dystopia with roots in today's hot-button headlines.
     
    V9K_Cory
    The influence of latter-day Skinny Puppy is evident from the digitally-treated vocals that shuffle and creep among the sweeping, glassy synth lines of "Game Of Drones" and "Pipe Dreams," which also recall the early solo work of Puppy's frontman Ogre and his early collaborations with Mark Walk, who laid down a more pop-based songwriting style that is also evident in Gorski & Dobbels's work. As with Ogre's projects, socio-political commentary is embedded in many of the lyrical themes of Conopoly, explored most creatively in tracks like "Speak and Spell," in which the title device asks the user to spell “Pleasure,” to which we hear the response “M-O-N-E-Y,” for “Earth” we get “W-A-S-T-E,” and so on. 
     
    But Volt 9000 doesn't adhere slavishly to the SP formula, and their sound explores a wide spectrum of textures and frequencies within a dark pop structure. The echoing upper synth ranges give a dark sci-fi vibe to "Tower," while "Illuminist" takes a creepier future-horror path, with instruments and vocals stuttering in tandem; in both that cut and "Echodrone," there's a distinct flavor of '80s synth legend Gary Numan, especially in the verses, which are often stripped down to just electro beats and pensive vocals. The most distinctive tracks here are "Toybox," which sports a mean hook, a tight, crispy mid-tempo beat pattern and a lullaby music-box sample, and the ghostly "House of Cards," a light and airy piece that floats a softer vocal melody over a plinking reverse-piano line. The eerie instrumental title track closes the album on an authentic proto-industrial feast of clicks, clanks and drones, calling back to the early experiments of Throbbing Gristle and Einstürzende Neubaten.
     
    While Conopoly will no doubt have many critics drawing direct links between Volt 9000 and post-millennial Skinny Puppy and/or Ogre & Walk's side projects (and there is a clear sonic resemblance), I feel that the only real direct parallels here are in the music technology used, and not the songwriting, lyrics or delivery, which have a distinct creative voice that has not only improved with each release, but is getting steadily darker and more threatening, moving away from 8-bit nostalgia and into chilling new speculative worlds.
     
    Toybox
     
    In addition to physical CD and download versions, which will be available tomorrow, the band is also releasing Conopoly in a sinister-looking “Toybox” limited edition (40 units, with just a couple dozen left as of this writing), which includes discs of both the new album and Retrogenesis, a thank-you letter signed by the band, a clipping of original lyric sheets from the Conopoly recording sessions, and links to two bonus tracks. Drop by StormingtheBase.com for details.

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    John5

    After several years as lead guitarist for Marilyn Manson, John 5 joined up with Rob Zombie's band for Ozzfest in 2005 and soon became a part of Rob's official lineup... and they've been working together ever since. Their latest collaboration was Zombie's new album Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor (an excellent record – check out our review), and John previously composed the unique and chilling score for Rob's feature film The Lords of Salem.
     
    J5_RZ
    We got a chance to visit John's amazing home, where he showed us some of his spooky home décor (check out that strobe-light guitar!) and revealed some fascinating details about the making of the film score and the recording of the album, as well as his popular solo material (his latest is 2012's acclaimed God Told Me To).
     
    John5_GTMT
     
    See all that and much more in the video below... check it out!

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    We're all trying to cope with the fact that the blistering summer months are upon us, and Halloween still seems so far away... but horror & pop culture blog Freddy In Space has at least found a way to bring the best of both worlds together, in the form of some fun concepts for horror-themed ice cream treats.
     
    Pop1Pop2
     
    Designed by artist Frank Browning, these beauties are based on horror characters old and new, while faithfully recreating the original advertising art normally plastered on ice cream trucks.
     
    Pop3Pop4
     
    Those of you lucky enough to have grown up with regular summer visits from the ice cream man and trips to the horror section local video store, these combine those memories in one convenient place.
     
    Pop5Pop6
     
    While I do fondly recall superhero-themed ice cream shapes, I admit it I was bummed that they didn't actually make any monster-shaped pops... at least my neighborhood ice cream guy didn't have any. But damn, who wouldn't have bought a handful of these, even if they ended up melting on the walk home? (I was kinda hoping the Captain Spaulding pop would be "Tutti-Fuckin-Frutti" flavor, but why complain?)
     
    Drop by Freddy In Space for a look at the whole gallery... and they promise more to come!

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    Today the official slate has been announced for this year's annual Viscera Film Festival, which showcases the work of female horror filmmakers from around the world. This year's lineup – selected from over two hundred entries – features thirteen short films from the US and Canada, the UK, Japan, Spain and Mexico, and includes two Los Angeles premieres. 
     
    Viscera_2013
     
    This year's judging panel is a veritable who's-who of horror entertainment, including Jennifer Lynch, Rachel Talalay, Jeffrey Reddick, Amber Benson, Trent Haaga, Anthony Masi, Brea Grant, Andrew Van Den Houten, Elizabeth Stanley, Anthony Diblasi, Shade Rupe, Jim Vanbebber, Drew Daywalt, Kier-La Janisse, Chris Alexander, John Skipp, David Decoteau, Alan Spencer, Barbara Peeters, and prior Viscera winners Jennifer Thym and Mae Catt.
     
    The festival will be held on July 13th in a co-presentation with the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard. The event includes a “bloody carpet” ceremony and after-partyat the Cat & Fiddle on 6530 W Sunset Blvd, as well as a “recovery brunch” the following morning at 11AM (follow those links to sign up for all three events on Facebook). Tickets are available now via through American Cinematheque's website.
     
    So without further ado, here's this year's official lineup:
     
    Anniversary Dinner (USA)
    Directed by Jessi Gotta
    Synopsis: A survivor of the zombie apocalypse is about to discover that 'Til Death Do Us Part' was just the beginning.
     
    Dead Crossing (Canada/Mexico) Los Angeles Premiere 
    Directed by Gigi Saul Guerrero
    Synopsis: A Mexican family attempting to cross the border with a group of immigrants encounter a vicious and terrifying secret involving the way the United States deals with illegal immigration.
     
    Eternal_Springs
     
    Eternal Springs (USA) World Premiere
    Directed by Kate Rhamey, Allison Rohm
    Synopsis: Erma, a deranged old woman who thinks she's eleven years old, captures young women to be her dolls.
     
    Halloween Bash (USA) World Premiere
    Directed by Jenn Wexler
    Synopsis: A mean girl bent on playing tricks receives a mysterious Halloween treat.
     
    In the Dark (USA)
    Directed by Helen Truong
    Synopsis: As the only survivor of a psychological experiment that killed her fellow participants, a woman must find the courage to face a terrifying truth -- one that will finally set her free or trap her forever.
     
    My Brother’s Keeper (UK)
    Directed by Jen Moss
    Synopsis: Holed up at the end of the world with her well-meaning but dim-witted brother Jo (Alex Esmail), Jess (April Pearson) isn’t sure what will destroy her will to live first: the zombies or Jo’s incessant optimism.
     
    No_Place
     
    No Place Like Home (Japan) World Premiere
    Directed by Nicholas Humphries
    Produced by Mai Nakanishi, Christine DeJoy
    Synopsis: What happens when Dorothy's desperate wish to go home faces a most unexpected turn where she finds herself in zombie apocalyptic Kansas?
     
    Orange County Hill Killers (USA)
    Directed by Katie Downer
    Synopsis: Storytelling and reality are blurred when four teenagers enter the infamous Blackstar Canyon.
     
    Outbreak (USA) Los Angeles Premiere
    Directed by Maddison Lopez
    Synopsis: A toxic plant explosion releases a fume that does strange things to nearby high school students. Everyone's trying to get out alive.
     
    Phantom Limb (USA) World Premiere
    Directed by Lark O. Arrowood
    Synopsis: Jeffery has always suspected that something was wrong with his body. We find him in the eye of the storm, on the verge of collapse. He is disheveled and beginning to suspect that he has made a grave error.
     
    Self-Portrait (Canada)
    Directed by Jovanka Vuckovic
    Synopsis: In the process of taking off her make-up, a young woman reveals her true face.
     
    Slumber_Party
     
    Slumber Party (USA)
    Directed by Jenn Wexler
    Synopsis: A dark wish becomes a nightmarish reality when best friends play a game of Bloody Mary.
     
    The Meeting (Canada) USA Premiere
    Directed by Karen Lam
    Synopsis: In a weekly meet-up, four serial killers confess their sins and hope for redemption. But all hell breaks loose when a newcomer pops in, and threatens to join the group...
     
    The fest will also be embarking on a world tour this August; the lineup of titles and dates includes some entries not shown at the LA screening. Visit their official site for details!

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    Hell is repetition.

    This refrain, from King’s surrealist slice of late-90s horror, “That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French,” has become something of a thematic sticking point for Stephen King. Not that that’s a bad thing; King has long been interested in exploring motifs from every possible angle in subsequent stories until he’s exhausted them. See his series of “children with wild talents” novels, starting with Carrie and ending (for the most part) with Firestarter, or his exegeses on the process of writing, bookended (largely) by Misery and Bag of Bones.
     
    Recently, especially in his short stories, King has been concerned with mortality, repetition, and penance. The end of the Dark Tower series proper coalesced around these concerns, and King further explored them in the recent “Herman Wouk is Still Alive” and “The Dune.” “Afterlife,” however, seems to burble more directly out of the stew King first tasted in “Fair Extension,” from 2010’s Full Dark, No Stars, and especially the more recent “A Face in the Crowd,” which King co-authored with Stewart O’Nan. In that story, we were presented with a man named Dean Evers, haunted by the sins of his past and the inability to repent or even acknowledge them as sins. In “Afterlife,” we discover a similar man, William Andrews, who has his own stockpile of misdeeds buried in his past. Unlike Dean Evers, William Andrews is given a choice about how to react to the bad things he’s done in his life, and to the people he’s hurt. Whether or not he makes the right choice is up for the reader to decide.
     
    Where “A Face in the Crowd” is a nasty little story, one that starts off with a sympathetic character who reveals himself as repugnant, “Afterlife” is somewhat gentler, somewhat subtler. It takes the same basic core of a story and twists our perception of it, challenging the reader with the same choice Andrews makes. The immediacy of the present tense serves “Afterlife” very well, making readers bear witness to the confessions and decisions of now rather than then. Though it’s a small, whispering tale, “Afterlife” manages to ask some of the big questions King has been asking throughout his career: whether free will is real, whether sin is ingrained, and whether people really have the ability to change their natures. 
     
    “Afterlife” appears in issue #56 of Tin House, a literary magazine that had initially published the Duma Key preview, “Memory.”  While the issue is so far unavailable for online purchase, readers can find it at Barnes & Noble, and other brick-and-mortar bookstores.
     
    Tin_House
     
    Kevin Quigley is an author whose website, CharnelHouseSK.com, 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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    The fantastic thing about the VHS years is that the poster art was frequently hand drawn and frequently had very little or nothing to do with the actual film. If you picked a film based solely on the box cover, you had a pretty good chance of being disappointed or at least surprised. Distributors seemed to see a snazzy box cover as a good way to get some mileage out of a subpar film. That still goes on today, but it seems to happen less frequently and the artwork just isn’t the same. 
     
    In spite of the trickery that duped more than a couple of horror fans in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, there are some terrific and legitimate films that have terribly misleading – albeit awesome – cover art. Forthat reason, we present to you ten shining examples of awesomely misleading film artwork. 
     
    ChoppingChopping Mall
     
    If you were to take this Roger Corman produced classic at what you see portrayed in the film’s artwork, you would be terribly surprised when you actually sat down to watch it. The robot arm featured on the cover doesn’t exist in the film, and that same robot arm is holding a shopping bag full of body parts, which doesn’t pertain to anything that actually happens in the film. The Chopping Mall box cover is essentially advertising a completely different film. However, misrepresentative cover art doesn’t stop the film from being a great deal of fun. Chopping Mall never takes itself too seriously and it’s that approach that makes the ludicrous concept of short-circuited robots killing teenagers trapped in a mall work beautifully. 
     
     
    SororityThe House on Sorority Row
     
    The cover art for The House on Sorority Row doesn’t even make the film look like a distant relative of a horror film. The box cover looks like that of a steamy romance novel adapted for the screen. The sultry, barely clothed, hand drawn cover girl doesn’t even really resemble anyone in the film, which makes the whole presentation even stranger. But, the box cover probably led to some extra rentals by viewers in the market for something of the soft-core porn variety. Anyone who rented the film hoping for some cheap thrills was probably slightly disappointed to learn that the story revolved around a group of sorority girls dealing with the aftermath of a prank gone wrong. But, perhaps those who rented The House on Sorority Row looking for something sexually deviant were pleased to learn that the film does offer a look at a few bare breasted co-eds. 
     
    SpitI Spit on Your Grave
     
    The latest issue of Rue Morgue definitively addressed the long-standing rumor that the buns on the cover art for I Spit on Your Grave belong to the lovely Demi Moore. That rumor is totally true. That would be perfectly okay if Demi Moore were in the movie. However, the former Mrs. Bruce Willis isn’t in the film and doesn’t even look like Camille Keaton, who played the lead. As for exactly why Camille Keaton’s backside wasn’t on the cover of this rape/revenge story, we don’t know. We were not able to track down a definitive answer. 
     
     
     
     
    ReturnReturn to Horror High
     
    The poster art for Return to Horror High features a cheerleading skeleton. Of course, the film has absolutely nothing to do with cheerleading skeletons. But I suppose, in some ways, the misleading cover art is appropriate, seeing as how the whole film hinges on misdirection and playing with the audience members’ expectations. The artwork is clever and perhaps that is what led to Cheerleader Camp (also on our list) making the decision to seemingly model their film’s cover art after Horror High’s artwork. Horror High wasn’t necessarily a hit at the time of its release, but it’s developed at least a small cult following over the years. It’s the kind of film that’s better after you’ve watched it more than once. The first time watching it tends to be a letdown for a lot of viewers, but the film is easier to have fun with upon a second viewing. 
     
     
    CurtainsCurtains
     
    If we were to interpret the plotline of Curtains using only the box cover to guide our decision, we might be persuaded to believe that the film was an early entry in the killer doll sub-genre. However, it is not a killer doll film and the doll from the poster is in Curtains for all of about three seconds. Though the film’s cover artwork is ultimately misleading, Curtains is an unsung classic. It’s never received a proper Region 1 DVD release, which is a shame. Curtains is available as part of a single disc 4-pack with three other films that are worth taking a pass on. The 4-pack is definitely worth picking up until Curtains receives the royal treatment that it deserves. It would be great to see Scream Factory or Scorpion put out a feature packed DVD/Blu-ray release with an improved transfer of the film.  
     
    SleepawaySleepaway Camp
     
    The cover to Sleepaway Camp made the film look appealing. The artwork prominently features a tennis shoe getting stabbed and a letter home from an unhappy camper. Of course, none of this really has anything to do with the actual feature. But, the film gave viewers a fairly solid summer camp slasher and if you haven’t seen the film, you will undoubtedly be caught squarely off guard by the ending. It is a doozy. Sleepaway Camp is also noteworthy for introducing us to the beautiful and talented scream queen Felissa Rose. 
     
     
     
    PopcornPopcorn
     
    The cover art for Popcorn, like most of the films on our list, is incredible but it gives prospective viewers nearly no clue as to what actually goes on in the film. The poster has a skeleton sporting a mask in the likeness of Maggie (Jill Schoelen) the lead. Though the killer in the films does use masks to disguise his identity, he certainly never wears a Maggie mask. And while the killer is disfigured, he has not decomposed to the point of only skeletal remains. 
     
     
     
     
     
    CheerCheerleader Camp (AKA Bloody Pom Poms)
     
    As we mentioned previously, it seems that Cheerleader Camp took a great deal of inspiration from the equally misleading cover art for Return to Horror High. The main difference between the two box covers is that instead of using a full skeleton, like Horror High, Cheerleader Camp differentiates itself slightly by using a human looking cheerleader from the neck down with what just might be the face of Skeletor where the girl’s head should be. Cheerleader Camp is surprisingly not that bad. The fact that Leif Garrett is in the film doesn’t necessarily instill confidence in viewers or make it stand out as a must see, but it’s better than one might expect and at least worth watching once. 
     
     
     
    HouseHouse
     
    Prior to watching House, one might think it to be about a floating severed hand that persistently rings some poor guy’s doorbell. Fortunately, there’s much more to House than what the box cover may have led audiences to believe. That’s not to say that a severed hand never makes an appearance in the film, but it is far from the focus of the picture. The Vietnam backstory added a really unique element to the film that you don’t necessarily see in a lot of horror films. 
     
     
     
     
     
    FrightFright Night
     
    I used to love to stare at the cover to Fright Night when I was a youngster. The VHS artwork was fascinating and the film represented forbidden fruit to me. However, my loose interpretation of what the film must be about was quite incorrect. I used to think it must have something to do with a gaggle of ominous looking vampire clouds. When I finally watched the film – at some point during high school – I was sorely disappointed to learn that Fright Night had no vampire cloud formations to offer. The actual goings on in the film more than made up for my disappointment, though, and Fright Night remains one of my faves to this day. 

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    I grew up in the 1980s, when serial killers stalking summer camps defined the horror genre: Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp, Cheerleader Camp, The Burning. So to me, the Great Horror Campout was a long time coming.

    Billed as an “immersive experience,” the Great Horror Campout is a 12-hour, overnight “camping trip” that puts you in the middle of the horrors that lurk in the woods. I do not like camping and I do not like wilderness, so I doubt that I could make it through the actual event. When I was offered a preview of the experience in a climate-controlled warehouse, I jumped at the chance.

    Myself and a half-dozen journalists were asked to meet in Griffith Park in the heart of Los Angeles - already a scary proposition. Griffith Park is a massive state park built into the mountain, so there are lots of winding, multi-layered roads, none of which have names. There are few signs and fewer street lamps, making it the perfect way to start a horror campout. (The actual campout will be held at Los Angeles State Historic Park.) A bus picks us up and starts the bumpy, winding trail out of the park. Actually, it could have been deeper into the park. We hadn’t been on the bus more than five minutes before we were “hijacked” by a trio of masked hillbillies. They threw burlap sacks on our heads and terrorized us with cans of air and hovering in our personal space. The leader of the hillbillies spent the rest of the trip barking out the rules and regulations to us. Between the bumpy ride and the muffling mask, I couldn’t hear anything he said.

    We arrived at the warehouse of Ten Thirty One Productions, the people who created the Great Horror Campout (they also do the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride). Melissa Carbone, one of founders of Ten Thirty One gives us a rundown of what campers can expect before launching into the Hell Hunt.

    The centerpiece of the Great Horror Campout is the Hell Hunt, an intense horror-themed scavenger hunt. Upon checkin, campers will receive a dossier which includes, among other things, a camp map and details on what you are looking for in the Hell Hunt. In order to complete the Hunt, you must collect five Level Three items, four Level Two items, and one Level One item (the most difficult to obtain). We got to hunt for a Level Two item, which required us to dig into the abdomen of a (prop) victim, through the goo and past the intestines, and actually snap off a rib from the rib cage. Other tasks may ask you to pull worms from severed heads, dig out items from piles of roadkill, or take place in a blood ritual.

    But the hunt is not just playing in goo. You may need to work your way through a labyrinth while avoiding detection by chupacabras. You may be kidnapped by “creepers” in vans and dropped off at a remote location of the camp (with a “campground” of 32 acres, it could take you half the night to find your way back). You may be abducted and locked in a cage or the trunk of a car, and need to negotiate your way out with one or two of your hard-won Hunt items (with 11,600 items in play, you can always go back for more).

    So let’s say scavenger hunts are not your thing. There is no shortage of other things to do at the Great Horror Campout. For starters, you are free to roam about the Hell Zone without taking place in the Hunt. There will also be an area called the Homestead, which sounds like playground for grownups: tight corridors set up like a junkyard that you can climb through while being chased by urban legend killers, like the man with the hook hand. You can try to nap in your tent, but there is no guarantee that you won’t be dragged out by a monster. For something a little tamer, you can roast marshmallows over a camp fire, or enjoy all-night horror movies. So far, some of the titles that will play include classics like Sleepaway Camp 2, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th 3, and newer films Mama and Come Out and Play. More films will likely be added, and they will be screening trailers, shorts, and “other surprises” throughout the night.

    During our preview, we also got to sample some of the food that will be served, buffet-style, in the mess hall. It was more than a step above typical “camp food” and included sausages cooked with peppers and onions, chili, and mac and cheese. (Fair warning: the website says there are vegan-appropriate options, but other than salad, I did not see any during our preview.) During dinner, campers will be greeted by the camp headmaster, who will give everyone the orientation that we got from masked hillbillies. The first rule of GHC is that the rules can change at any moment, so listen closely for the loudspeaker. The headmaster could announce a rule change at any time.

    Of course, if you get overwhelmed at any time, you do have a safe phrase: “I want my mommy!”

    The Great Horror Campout will have two dates: June 7th and June 8th. Your $149 ticket includes “sleeping” accommodations, dinner, continental breakfast, the Hell Hunt, movies, and marshmallows. For all the details and to buy your tickets, visit GreatHorrorCampout.com


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    A while back we passed along the news that Nick Damici (Stake Land) is heading up the cast of Late Phases, the first English-language horror film from Here Comes the Devil director Adrian Garcia Bogliano. Now we're stoked to announce that principal photography has officially begun on the film in upstate New York, with new cast members added to the lineup.
     
    Damici
    Along with Damici, the starring lineup now includes Ethan Embry (Cheap Thrills), Erin Cummings (Spartacus), Lance Guest (Halloween II, The Last Starfighter), and  Tom Noonan (Manhunter, House Of The Devil). Supporting players will include cinema & TV veterans Tina Louise, Karen Lynn Gorney, Caitlin O'Heaney and Rutanya Alda.
     
    Late Phases is the story of a blind vet who discovers that residents of a retirement community are falling victim to what at first seem to be dog attacks... but as he soon learns firsthand, the truth turns out to be much more terrifying. The film is co-produced by MPI's Dark Sky Films, Site B Productions (V/H/S/2) and Larry Fessenden's Glass Eye Pix (Stake Land, House of the Devil, The Innkeepers).
     
    More updates to come!

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    2013 has been a busy year for the folks at Scream Factory, and therefore it's an exciting time for us genre fans. Their spring and summer release lineup is loaded with collector's edition Blu-rays and DVDs, including some first-time releases, and now thanks to some recent updates on their busy Facebook page, the best is still to come.
     
    First we've got this badass cover art by Justin Osbourn for their upcoming Collector’s Edition of John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness. That release is slated for September 24th, with details to be revealed this summer.
     
    PoD_Blu
     
    Next up is more stunning cover art... shown below is Joel Robinson's artwork for Scream Factory's upcoming Blu-ray set The Vincent Price Collection. The image on the left will be on the slipcase, and on the right is the cover of the Blu-ray containing the classics Fall of the House of Usher, The Haunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death, The Pit and the Pendulum, Witchfinder General (with alternate U.S. Version The Conqueror Worm) and The Abominable Dr. Phibes. The set will also include a 24-page booklet with original theatrical poster images. That one's set for release just before Halloween, with more details to come.
     
    Price_Blu
     
    Scream Factory has also launched their own online TV channel, where they offer sneak peeks at supplemental materials, trailers, and recurring features like genre clip compilations themed to their new, current and past releases.
     
    We expect a lot more updates in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

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    In April we passed along the news that Waxwork Records is releasing the soundtrack to Re-Animator, featuring the memorable score by renowned composer Richard Band, in a limited-run vinyl edition. Now, courtesy of this cool article in Rue Morgue magazine, we can show you the official album art, courtesy of celebrated horror artist Ghoulish Gary Pullin:
     
    Re-Animator
     
    This groovy image is also included with the album as a full-color poster. Waxwork has also begun taking preorders (the album drops on July 1st) at their official site, so get on this one while you can... and to get you in the mood, how about a reprise of that famous theme?
     

     


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