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FEARNET.com News and Reviews

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    Fantastic Fest has announced their second wave of programming for their upcoming festival in Austin September 19-26.

    FIELD IN ENGLAND, A (England, 2013)
    North American Premiere
    Director - Ben Wheatley, 90 mins
    During the British Civil War, when magic was science, an alchemist forces a group of deserters to help him locate buried treasure, and sends them all straight into the mouth of madness.   

    AFFLICTED (Canada, 2013)
    US Premiere
    Director - Clif Prowse, 85 mins
    Derek and Clif, best friends documenting their journey across the world, are in for an unexpected adventure when one of them comes down with a sinister sickness.   

    ALMOST HUMAN (USA, 2013)
    US Premiere
    Director - Joe Begos, 80 mins
    A man who disappeared under mysterious circumstances returns to wreak havoc upon a small town.

    BLUE RUIN (USA, 2013)
    US Premiere
    Director - Jeremy Sauliner, 90 mins
    A homeless man aims to avenge his dead parents when their killer is released from prison, triggering a chain of events that will only end in more blood.

    COHERENCE (USA, 2013)
    World Premiere
    Director - James Ward Byrkit, 127 mins
    On the night a comet is passing near Earth, a dinner party takes an odd turn. When the power goes out, eight friends discover that the only house on the street left with power also holds many secrets.   

    CONGRESS, THE (Israel, Germany, 2013)
    North American Premiere
    Director - Ari Folman, 122 mins
    Robin Wright (playing herself) receives the last offer she'll ever get from a Hollywood studio in Ari Folman's adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's classic scifi novel, and his follow-up to WALTZ WITH BASHIR.   

    GOLDBERG AND EISENBERG (Israel, 2013)
    World Premiere
    Director - Oren Carmi, 91 mins
    A psychopath develops a dangerous obsession with a schlubby computer programmer. 

    GRAND PIANO (Spain, 2013)
    World Premiere
    Director - Eugenio Mira, 90 mins
    A renowned concert pianist (Elijah Wood) returns to the stage for one final performance, only to become the target of a sadistic cat-and-mouse game with a faceless sniper (John Cusack).   

    HENTAI KAMEN: FORBIDDEN SUPER HERO (Japan, 2013)
    Texas Premiere
    Director - Yuichi FUKUDA, 105 mins
    A new hero has arisen in Japan: One with fishnet stockings, a mankini, and a pair of women's panties over his face. When conventional justice fails, make way for the Hentai Kamen.

    MARUYAMA THE MIDDLE SCHOOLER (Japan, 2013)
    North American Premiere
    Director - Kankuro Kudo, 119 mins
    A middle school student prone to wild daydreams devotes his waking hours to stretching and flexibility exercises with the ultimate goal of one day being able to lick his own penis.   

    MIRAGE MEN (United Kingdom, 2013)
    North American Premiere
    Director - John Lundberg, 85 mins
    A mind-scrambling documentary that posits that popular myths about the existence of UFOs originated from a disinformation campaign by the U.S. government.   

    O'APOSTOLO (Spain, 2013)
    Texas Premiere
    Director - Fernando Cortizo, 87 mins
    Gothic legends are brought to life by gorgeous stop-motion animation in this adult fantasy film from Spain.

    OUR HEROES DIED TONIGHT (France, 2013)
    North American Premiere
    Director - David Perrault, 94 mins
    Freshly returned home from a stint in the French Foreign Legion, Victor finds work as a reluctantly villainous masked wrestler in this marvelously crafted ode to film noir from first-time director David Perrault.   

    PATRICK (Australia, 2013)
    North American Premiere
    Director - Mark Hartley, 95 mins

    Nurse Kathy Jaquard didn't expect a lot of trouble on the coma ward but she gets more than she can handle when she meets the telekinetic Patrick in Mark Hartley's remake of the Ozsploitation classic.  

    PROXY (USA, 2013)
    US Premiere
    Director - Zack Parker, 120 mins
    American director Zack Parker delivers an unexpected, nasty little thriller about a woman whose life spins out of control following an attack on her unborn child.

    SEPTIC MAN (Canada, 2013)
    World Premiere
    Director - Jesse Thomas Cook, 83 mins
    An erstwhile plumber undergoes a hideous transformation when trapped inside a septic tank and tormented by the bizarre residents of his town's sewage treatment plant.  

    TALES FROM THE ORGAN TRADE (Canada, 2013)
    Austin Premiere
    Director - Ric Bienstock, 82 mins
    David Cronenberg narrates this fascinating documentary about the secret world of international organ trafficking.   

    WHY DON'T YOU PLAY IN HELL (Japan, 2013)
    US Premiere
    Director - Sion Sono, 126 mins
    Things get insanely bloody when an inspiring film troupe known as The Fuck Bombers collide with a yakuza boss who wants to make a movie with his daughter, in Fantastic Fest veteran Sion Sono's (LOVE EXPOSURE; SUICIDE CLUB) latest.

    WITCHING & BITCHING (Spain, 2013)
    US Premiere
    Director - Alex de la Iglesia, 120 mins
    Hit Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia (THE LAST CIRCUS) returns to Fantastic Fest with a hilarious and gory tale of thieves who find themselves in over their heads when faced with a coven of bloodthirsty witches.   

    For more info and complete schedule, visit FantasticFest.com

    What are you waiting for?  It’s the 13th of the month and it’s time to tweet.  Want more Thriller, Horror and Suspense 24/7?  Tweet your cable provider now!  Spread the word and come back next month to request FEARnet. Your ticket to horror is here – www.fearnet.com/iwantfearnet


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    Under the Dome Episode 108
    “Thicker Than Water”
    Written By: Adam Stein
    Directed By: Jack Bender
    Original Airdate: 12 August 2013

    In This Episode...

    Inexplicably, Ollie seems preoccupied with taking over Jim’s seat as councilman. I guess it is less about the title and more because he could take control of the town. He is essentially holding the town’s water for ransom. Jim tries to take it back under the theory of eminent domain, but when he and the tiny police force show up at Ollie’s farm, he has a much bigger battalion of good ol’ boys and they stand down. Jim had kicked Junior out of the house for the whole kidnapping thing, so Junior joins Ollie’s team. Ollie fills in Junior on the circumstances surrounding his mother’s death. He believed it was a car accident, and it was - but it was a suicide. Junior decides he wants to kill his dad.

    Barbie looks into the other artisanal wells and reservoirs within the dome limits. Linda informs him that when Ollie’s family tapped the well, it caused the others to run dry. Barbie wants to sneak in and blow up Ollie’s well, thereby returning water to the other sources and no longer making it a monopoly. Jim is against this, claiming it would run the risk of contaminating all the water and decides he wants to storm the castle again, with a bigger show of force, and puts together his own militia. While Jim’s militia storms Ollie’s farm, Barbie sneaks in to try to blow up the well. He gets into a fight with one of Ollie’s men, but grabs the detonator and blows it up. With the well gone, the fighters disband. Several of Ollie’s men inform him that they weren’t fighting for Ollie; they were fighting for the water. Ollie brings Jim into the house as a prisoner of war, but keeps his promise and turns the man over to Junior so he can kill him. Junior is all ready to pull the trigger, but wants the truth about his mom first. Jim admits it was a suicide and didn’t tell him because he didn’t want his son to know that his mom chose to leave him. Junior no longer wants to kill his dad, but Ollie was promised a dead Jim, so he grabs his shotgun and aims. Junior drops him to protect his dad. 

    Also: Norrie is not handling the death of her mom well. She begs the dome to bring her back. She also blames Joe for her death. Julia hears the kids talking about the black egg in the mini-dome and asks to see it. Joe takes her, and is surprised to find the black egg now glowing pink. Julia touces the mini-dome and sees an apparition of Joe - standing next to the real Joe. “The monarch will be crowned,” the doppelganger says before disappearing.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    Okay, finally caught up (thanks Time Warner). I was all excited because last week’s episode finally moved the story forward, with the discovery of the egg in the mini-dome. This week was back to “normal” in that the dome inhabitants were fighting amongst themselves and what is going on with the dome was almost an afterthought.

    Prophecies?

    Even if they didn’t cut right to a shot of Angie’s tattoo after Julia tells Barbie about the phrase “The monarch will be crowned,” it is pretty obvious that they are referring to a butterfly, not someone of royal lineage. I am going to stick with the alien theory, though it may be a race of insect-like aliens who is looking for a new home to birth babies in. That dome does seem to be a high-tech cocoon. 

    What are you waiting for?  It’s the 13th of the month and it’s time to tweet.  Want more Thriller, Horror and Suspense 24/7?  Tweet your cable provider now!  Spread the word and come back next month to request FEARnet. Your ticket to horror is here – www.fearnet.com/iwantfearnet


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    Face Off Episode 501
    “Going for Gold”
    Original Airdate: 13 August 2013

    In This Episode...

    Eight contestants from past seasons of Face Off join eight newbies to the show this season. Other than that, pretty much everything is the same. The winner will receive a Fiat, $100,000, and a VIP trip to a Krylon makeup studio.

    Foundation Challenge

    The contestants are tasked with creating a makeup look to go with the costume of one of the “guests” at a masquerade ball. Tate wins for his cursed princess, and gains immunity for the episode.

    Spotlight Challenge

    For this week’s team challenge, it is divided up into veterans and newcomers. They are tasked with creating five creatures that are part of an original hyper-stylized fantasy world. Each team must create a pixie, witch, ogre, troll, and fawn.

    The veteran team created a witch who is the leader of the other characters. She is blind, so the multiple eyes her friends have act as her eyes. Alana and Miranda’s pixie was one of the standouts. Glenn was impressed with the multi-layered ears and the skill shown in the appliances. Neville found it to be cohesive in many ways.

    Another standout was Laura’s witch, a ghastly creation who gathers strength from the people she eats. The “spikes” coming out of her back are the fingers of her victims. Glenn found it a fresh idea, and Ve, while she was disppointed by the face paint, thought everything else was beautiful.

    On the negative side, Frank, RJ, and Eric failed in their attempt to create an ogre. Glenn felt it was just giant arms and legs, a little head, and no body. The proportions were a disaster

    The newcomers linked their characters with glowing gemstones in their chests. All were members of a high council. Laney and Rick's fawn was the top look among the n00bs. Glenn thought it was brilliant the way they pulled the fur down into the face.

    On the negative side, Eddie and Tolin created an ogre. It was cartoonish and didn’t fit in with the rest of the characters. Tolin was proud that it looked “Henson-esque” but Glenn was frightened by how unconcerned they were about the quality. Ve felt the proportions were horribly off, and Neville found it substandard on so many levels.

    Adolfo also ended in the bottom with his troll, which looked more like a pig than a humanoid creature. Neville thought that the sculpt didn’t work and nothing about the anatomy suggested anything humanoid. Ve was offended that he couldn’t even give it a good paint job.

    The Verdict?

    Miranda won this week. Tolin went home.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    This was just the first challenge, so I will give everyone some slack. The creations were pretty good, but there wasn’t really anything spectacular. And quite frankly, the challenge itself was quite dull.

    Prophecies?

    We just got a “This season on...” sizzle reel, but I think the next episode will have Frankenstein creations, and that sounds badass.


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    It's been nearly a year since the much-hyped sixth installment of Capcom's Resident Evil game series hit stores (check out our game review hereRE6 also made the cut for FEARnet's Best Games of 2012), and during that period RE fans, not to mention fans of horror soundtracks in general, have been anxiously awaiting the release of the music – a blend of aggressive electronic compositions and sweeping orchestral arrangements that stands among the most ambitious musical entries in the game franchise (even if for sheer volume of music alone). That long wait ended this month when Capcom and distributor Sumthing Else Music Works released the score cues as a 61-track digital album, and I finally got a chance to dig into the entire thing, which clocks in at a hefty two and a half hours.
     
    RE6_OST
     
    The immense scope of the Resident Evil 6 score was tackled by a veritable battalion of veteran musicians, including RE5 composers Kota Suzuki and Akihiko Narita. The duo of Thomas Parisch (Legion) and Laurent Ziliani (Drag Me to Hell) supervised the orchestral arrangements, which were performed by the 90-piece Sydney Scoring Orchestra. In addition to the sheer magnitude of the project itself, it also took a team this size to tackle the musical challenges posed by the new game dynamics, which involve multiple separate and/or simultaneous character arcs – each with its own accompaniment – and the musical motifs are required to blend and transform to fit the frequent shifts in perspective and emotion. RE6 also puts more focus on the action elements in the series, with less emphasis on atmospheric horror, so both the electronic and orchestral elements are pushed to their limits to keep the kinetic energy level as high as possible. The mood-setting cues are still there, of course, but with a darkly heroic slant similar to Danny Elfman's memorably brooding scores for Batman and Darkman, with grandiose but ominous undertones recalling Jerry Goldsmith's work on Alien and Poltergeist and James Horner's cues for Aliens.
     
     
    On the downside, the game's nearly constant emphasis on blockbuster-style action/survival sequences puts a similar demand on the music. The level of energy required for so much interlocking mayhem can only be sustained for a limited amount of time – a factor which is accounted for in the game dynamic, but in an album format, the listener is at risk of collapsing from ear fatigue long before the two-and-a-half-hour mark arrives. As a soundtrack collector, I'm all about complete and comprehensive recordings, and there's a very robust overview of RE6 cues here, but the sequencing of the tracks results in too much repetition of themes and styles, and I often lost the thread while listening. It staggers the imagination when you realize that the Japanese version of the soundtrack spans an unbelievable six discs... even for a total soundtrack geek like me, that feels like overkill (although I guess it depends on the subject matter... I'm sure die-hard RE fans would be delighted).
     
    RE6_banner
     
    That problem can be easily solved, however, by creating a shorter playlist that runs the full emotional spectrum – the dark and rumbling ambient cues, hyperkinetic movie-style action sequences, and brooding character motifs – in less than half the running time, putting you back in a more cinematic mindset. For example, my favorite sequence is an overview of styles, textures and emotional highs and lows: “No Way Out,” “Mission in Edonia,” “Back for More,” “Tiptoeing Through Shadows,” “Quake and Crawl,” “The Longest Elevator,” “Double Betrayal,” “Ubistvo II,” “Gas Station,” “Neo-Umbrella's Assault,” “The Submarine,” “Zombie Wasteland,” “Haos, Apostle of Chaos,” and I picked the catchy pop-rock tune “At the End of a Long Escape” (which serves as Jake's theme in the game) for a nice emotional wrap-up. Your results may vary, but there's a wealth of great stuff to choose from here, so mix and match to your own pleasure.
     
     
    Apart from that certain "sameness" across the sequence of cues, the music for Resident Evil 6 is still on par with, and sometimes exceeds, the scope and quality of many a Hollywood blockbuster score (including many of the RE movies, for that matter), and each cue in itself has its own cinematic mini-arc. While not as deeply terrifying as some earlier entries in the series, it's fully true to the new game's hard-hitting action spirit, and there's plenty of adrenaline-pumping intensity; just think of it as an album of moments, rather than a cohesive whole. Taken in controlled doses (not necessarily as prescribed above, but hell, I'm no doctor), it's one of the more exciting game soundtracks in recent years.

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    Ind_Totem1
     
    German experimental music unit Individual Totem (a.k.a. Bernrd Madl and Mathias Knopp) have been fusing dark soundscapes and heavy industrial beats for over two decades now, but somehow managed to stay just under my radar during most of that time. After a few indie releases in the '90s, new material from the band became fairly scarce again, before they resurfaced with the full-length album Mothfly in 2007. That release included memorable tracks like “WWW,” which had once surfaced as a single many years earlier only to abruptly vanish from the scene. A quick listen to that record calls to mind iconic acts like Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly or Velvet Acid Christ, but with roots in earlier electronic pioneers like Tangerine Dream (whose music is familiar to fans of '80s horror movies like Near Dark and The Keep). The combination of those influences supports a very cinematic thread of dark fantasy storytelling, and that aspect becomes the main focus of their latest album Kyria 13, which like its predecessor emerges after a lengthy hiatus.
     
    Kyria_13
     
    An ambitious concept album with a dark fantasy theme, Kyria 13 tells the story of the Croxxers, a council of Jedi-like knights with mystical powers who must rally their forces to defend the the title world. Their foes in this dark saga are the ominous-sounding “Mindworms,” whose evil influence peaks with an event called “The Great Mistake,” which may spell doom for the entire planet. While this high-concept approach may call to mind the sprawling prog-rock epics of the '70s, for me it more closely resembles a story from the pages of Heavy Metal magazine, with the same open-ended, sensual surrealism, albeit in musical form. While the tale is told in a fairly loose way, and the tracks themselves stand up well individually, you can still feel a distinct story structure if you absorb the album in a non-stop session.
     
    IT_Timber
     
    The opening track “Croxxers” sets up the world we're about to enter in the form of a distress-call transmission, before kicking in an old-school EDM pattern; in a cool touch, Madl's multi-tracked vocals are recorded in both English and German. The threat is established with the chilling dark synth growls and thunderous bass line of “Lost Souls,” and ghostly high-pitch patterns and overlapping, cavernous vocals shape “The Great Mistake” into a kind of apocalyptic history lesson. Warm, ceremonial chords set the mood for “Council of the Wise,” conjuring the image of a secret meeting place, as pitch-shifted, alien voices filling the sound space. The tone becomes intensely somber in “Go to War,” with Madl's declaration “This is the time to forget/Whatever you feel for me” accompanied by acoustic guitar and backing synth strings before the introduction of marching snare drums.
     
    Our antagonist is introduced in the frightening industrial noise explosion of “Mindworms,” which gives way to the album's best slamming heavy-beat sequence, and the shouted line “Get out of my head!” is simple but effective. The intensity lightens temporarily for the cloudy synth washes of “Bluesky,” a moody and percussive piece that seems to portray the passing of the Croxxer legacy to a new generation; that path continues into darkness with the lumbering, stuttering down-tempo crawl of “No Pressure,” punctuated by shrill blasts of modulated noise. The noises climb skyward for the excellent “Astral,” which for me represents the band's best balance of old and new electro styles – its room-shaking staccato bass line and soaring cosmic synth chords sound like a fusion of Skinny Puppy and Tangerine Dream. To reveal the content of the ambient “Wintermute” would give away the outcome of the story, but suffice to say it's a suitably cinematic coda, and has its share of surprises.
     
    IT_Moss
     
    While none of these tracks break new ground in terms of songwriting – the structures and lyrics are very simple, lending themselves to a more ritualistic vibe – Kyria 13 is quite effective as an immersive experience. Each track in itself only provides a small hint of the bigger picture, and we only get a few moments of purely club-friendly EBM, but taken as a whole (preferably with the lights out), this record will ease you into a strange and haunted world while keeping your pulse high at the same time. I'm looking forward to visiting Individual Totem's universe again... and hoping it won't be another seven years before they offer their next invitation.
     
    Here's the first chapter from the chronicles of Kyria 13, in the form of the opening track “Croxxers”...
     

     


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    The subtitle for PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies is an obvious, albeit nonsexual, double entendre.  Released almost 4 years after its lawn-defense predecessor, fans of the original game can breathe a sigh of relief that, after a series of strange spin-offs (Pinball?  Social gaming?  An upcoming shooter?) the game has gone back to its rambunctious roots of easy-to-play, hard-to-master strategy.  The second fork of the double entendre comes from that fact that, yes, this game is literally about time, with players joining their pothead neighbor Crazy Dave (yes, he has a pot on his head, so I am making no assumptions about his glaucoma treatment plan) and his time-travelling RV Penny on a quest through the eons so Crazy Dave can…eat a taco.  OK, maybe I should be making some assumptions about Dave’s horticultural hobbies…

    The time travel adds an excuse for a horde of new zombie types to make their decrepit debut, adding new wrinkles to the formula.  In the first time period alone, the traditional Conehead and Buckethead types are joined by the incredibly obnoxious Ra Zombie, a fetid pharaoh who pulls your precious sunlight towards him, leading to a frantic tapping tug-of-war to keep your garden growing and your squares of sod safe.

    Of course, there are new units to help you out in this endeavor as well.  New turbo-powered topiaries include pugnacious powerhouses like the Bloomerang (which launches boomerangs, natch) and Iceberg Lettuce, which can literally freeze the advancing mob in its tracks.  There is also the addition of Plant Food, which will temporarily overpower any plant into a bristling blossom of botanical butchery.  Your staple Peashooter becomes the vegetative equivalent of Jesse Ventura’s minigun in Predator, the Sunflowers vomit out a burst of precious solar resources, and for a few brief moments you feel just a little more empowered against those goddamn zombies.

    PvZ2 makes its debut on iOS, and the multitouch interface is a direct reflection on that.  Tapping on the new powerups allow you to do anything from flicking zombies away to crushing their heads with a powerful pinch (insert Kids in the Hall reference here).  It’s not clear how these motions will translate for the other eleventy-billion platforms that this game will inevitably be released on, but it adds some additional, frantic movements to a game that’s equal parts cerebral and spastic.

    The most interesting idea, however, is the price.  Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time costs nothing.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  Sure, there are the obligatory in-app purchases to boost your stats or give yourself some extra resources, but you can theoretically play the game to your heart’s content and spend your saved money on liquor and cold cuts.  The free-to-play model is a trend in mobile gaming recently, but PvZ2 pulls it off in an almost transparent fashion.  It’s just another reason to play a game that is already a must-play through the strength of its own mechanics.

    Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time is available now on the App Store.


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    Area51c
     
    Okay, this is where all the conspiracy theorists get to say “I told you so.” According to recently declassified U.S. Government documents, the notorious Area 51 is the real deal. But don't get too cocky yet... the papers don't say a single thing about downed UFOs or alien autopsies... not these papers, anyway.
     
    Area51a
    Over four hundred pages of materials, all previously unseen by the public, were obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. The papers chronicle the development of the Mojave Desert-based testing site, which was apparently the heart of the U-2 spy plane program authorized by President Eisenhower after World War II, and multiple countries were actually involved in the project. (The U-2 made shocking headlines on May 1st, 1960, when it was shot down by the Soviet Union in one of the hotter moments in the Cold War.) 
     
    Area51b
    According to the documentation, the name “Area 51” simply originated from the section of the map where the compound was located (see map above). It was re-dubbed “Paradise Ranch” by its founders to make it seem a little less creepy to the people assigned to work there, but the original name stuck, obviously. 
     
    Here's a clip from CNN on the story:
     

     


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    The biggest hit of last season was The Following, Kevin Williamson's deliciously twisted serial killer tale. Season one ended with a bang - literally - so when we saw the cast and producers at San Diego Comic Con this year, we had to ask: who lived? Who died? Is Ryan Hardy still associated with the FBI? What happened with the rest of the cult? We spoke with stars Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Valorie Curry, Shawn Ashmore, and producers Kevin Williamson and Marcos Siega about what is coming up in season two.


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    Happy_TWD
     
    The first round of awesome horror-themed Happy Meal parodies we showed you last month (be sure to check them out here) left us drooling for more...
     
    Happy2Happy16
     
    Thankfully, artist Newt Clements has come to the rescue with another huge batch of freaky fast food mock-ups!
     
    Happy8Happy9
     
    For this edition, Clements adds more tributes to the horror classics, but he also expands his horizons to include cult favorites from every genre.
     
    Happy17Happy11
     
    TV series get a nod too, including Buffy, Dexter, Twin Peaks, and two Walking Dead sets, plus there's pop-culture goodies galore.
     
    Happy10Happy15
     
    The list is way too long to break down here, but rest assured there's something for everyone!
     
    Happy17Happy14
     
    These pictured are just a few of the second line, all of which you can see full-size at Clements' Pinterest board. Go there now!

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    Here's an ironic twist: how about snacking on the contents of a zombie's skull for a change? This totally sick gumball dispenser makes it possible.
     
    Gumball1
    This bizarro piece by artist Thomas Kuebler has been making the web rounds for a long time now, but until recently not much was known about its origins. In an interview with CNET's Crave, Kuebler revealed the story behind the “Geinball Machine,” named after notorious serial killer Ed Gein – who is best known for making furniture, bowls and other household items out of preserved human body parts, and whose escapades inspired movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, Silence of the Lambs and Deranged.
     
    "I grew up with an interest in monster movies, circus sideshows, and all things bizarre," explains Kuebler, who has a background in toy design and animatronics. "My artwork often reflects that."
     
    Gumball2
    In case you're wondering, the dispenser really works. "The Geinball Machine is a functional gumball machine,” Kuebler revealed, “but it was created primarily as a macabre piece of art or oddity."
     
    An exhibit of Kuebler's work will take place at the IlluXCon art symposium in Altoona, PA this November.

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    Madness4
     
    It seems less and less likely that Guillermo del Toro's long-awaited film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's novella At the Mountains of Madness will become a reality... which makes it even more heartbreaking to see some of the amazing concepts the director had in mind for his dream project.
     
    Madness2
     
    Those images came to light when a Reddit user revealed previously unseen pages from del Toro's personal sketchbook, which illustrated some of the amazing images he was tinkering with in preparation for the film.
     
    Madness3
     
    Sci-fi site io9 shared images from the Imgur gallery, which also contains some incredible monster designs from other del Toro productions including this summer's blockbuster Pacific Rim, as well as his early work on Blade 2 and classics like Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone.
     
    Madness1
     

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    Killer dolls are fodder for phobias and nightmares. They are somewhat of a paradox, because dolls are supposed to be the loyal companions of innocent children, not cold-blooded killers. But, when dolls do go bad, they go very bad. An early example of the killer doll can be found in The Twilight Zone series: with Talky Tina who really wanted to kill you. It didn’t stop there, though; creepy and homicidal dolls have continued to rear their ugly heads in film and television for many years now.

    We assert that there are few things creepier than malevolent playthings and that killer dolls are not to be trusted. So it is with a measure of caution that we bring to you our selections for ten of the creepiest dolls in cinema. 

    Chucky from Child’s Play

    The Chuckster is the creepiest of the creepy dolls. Though he isn’t the original creepy doll, he is definitely the most notorious. Not only will he kill you and attempt to steal your body, he will also make bad wisecracks whilst doing so. Chucky is ruthless; he kills because he loves to kill. He loves killing in a variety of ways and he relishes each moment of choking the life out of his victims. 

    Annabelle from The Conjuring

    The Annabelle doll was one of the most terrifying things about The Conjuring and she wasn’t even a primary plot point. She worked in to a sub-plot, but she didn’t really play an essential role in the film. However, she was creepy enough to make a major impact on the audience. This has led me to the conclusion that James Wan is a master of creepy dolls. Check out the real Annabelle doll here for endless nightmares.

    Billy from Dead Silence

    “Beware the stare of Mary Shaw. She had no children, only dolls. And if you see her, do not scream, or she’ll rip your tongue out at the seam.” Mary Shaw and her dummies are simply terrifying. Billy was the creepy icing on the creepy cake that was Dead Silence. Everywhere he went, he left a wake of destruction behind him and he did so while looking incredibly creepy. Ventriloquist dummies are creepy all on their own, but with the help of the Dead Silence props team, Billy reached an epic new level of creepy. 

    Dolly from Dolly Dearest

    Dolly Dearest was a nasty little thing.  The malicious little creep was responsible for a series of seemingly unrelated accidents and caused the Wade family an undeserved amount of strife. She was poised to be somewhat of a female Chucky – one of the taglines even made reference to the Child’s Play films – but no sequel ever materialized. Likely, the lukewarm reception to the film is to blame for why a sequel never materialized. 

    All of the dolls from Dolls

    A seemingly demure elderly couple proves that they are actually anything but demure in this Stuart Gordon classic. The film served as somewhat of a modern fairy tale with the motto being: don’t be a dick and you won’t meet your demise at the hands of satanic toys. Picking one doll as the creepiest in Dolls would be like picking our favorite cat video on YouTube. It’s simply not possible. They are all creepy, they are all mean, and they are al awesome! 

    Clown Doll in Poltergeist

    Clowns probably have more detractors than supporters. With so many children – and adults – terrified of clowns, it’s hard to believe they still turn up in so many places. The clown doll in Poltergeist is no exception when it comes to the tendency to terrify; it made a big impression in its short time on the screen. The clown doll even frightened Oliver Robbins, the actor who played Robbie Freeling. Oliver was actually choked by the doll during the shoot and the crew thought that he was just acting, so it took an inordinate amount of time for anyone to realize the lad needed help. 

    Tiffany from the Child’s Play franchise

    Though not quite as frightening as Chucky, Tiffany still manages to hold her own on the creepy doll landscape. Anyone who is demented enough to have strong romantic feelings for Charles Lee Ray is clearly not be trifled with. In fact, it would be best to steer clear of Tiffany under any circumstances. 

    Zuni doll from Trilogy of Terror

    The doll from Trilogy of Terror was an absolute maniac and it knew that Karen Black’s character was up to no good, so it kept at her until Black’s character saw things from its perspective. The final scene of the vignette where Karen Black’s character has the Zuni doll teeth makes me sick every time I watch it. She just looks so outrageously creepy. 

    Blade from PuppetMaster

    The interesting thing about Blade is that he is modeled after David Schmoeller’s muse actor Klaus Kinski. The likeness is uncanny and the creep factor is through the roof. Blade has a sinister smirk and a homicidal flare that have caused him to haunt more than a few nightmares over the years. 

    Billy doll from the Saw franchise

    The tricycle-riding doll from the Saw films is a very bad omen. If you catch sight of it, it’s already too late. He is always the bearer of bad news. When he comes on the scene, it is with an ominous message from Jigsaw. While the doll hasn’t actually been referred to as Billy in the film franchise, it is reportedly known behind the scenes as the Billy Doll. 

    Honorable mention to: SimPal Cindy from The Sixth Day

    The Sixth Day didn’t feature a killer doll, and thus why it didn’t make the cut, but it certainly featured a creepy doll. I saw The Sixth Day in the theater with my friend Liz and neither of us could focus our attention on the film because we were so taken aback by the creepy silicone doll that the young girl in the film was toting around. After we left the theater, the first thing Liz said was: “I want to put that bitch in the oven.” I cannot say that I blame her. The doll is completely frightening and the worst part is that it wasn’t even supposed to be scary. 

     

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    Fright Night sequel is due out in October, but without any of the original cast. We spoke to Jamie Murray, who plays the female version of Colin Farrell's Jerry from the 2011 version of the film. The character has gone from Jerry to Gerri, and we chatted about getting to play a vampire, filming in Romania, and the legend of Elisabeth Bathory.


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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!
     
    ConstantineConstantine No. 6
     
    John Constantine, the world's most popular a-hole magician/detective, is dying. He's a bloody mess (actually bloody, I'm not affecting his accent here) and his friend Lloyd is running out of time and options. Zatanna's not answering the phone (remember, this is Constantine from DC Comics, not Hellblazer by Dark Horse) and Constantine's metaphysical umbilical chord is about to snap. And when that happen's he's dead dead, for real. But friends and foes all sniff an opportunity, and an epic struggle ensues literally over his dead body.
     
    Bag it or board it up? Don't mind the fact that Constantine was just seen last week not dying, acting as possessed villain against Swamp Thing in his monthly. That's just a small timing issue, I assume. This issue is a blast, it makes me want to read all the Constantine I can, and I recommend you do the same. This series is great, and hasn't lost much of its charm in the big switch to DC.
     
    GhostedGhosted No. 2
     
    The gang of con artists, paranormal investigators, and psychic mediums continue their quest to pull of the biggest heist in history. They're tasked with stealing a ghost! This issue we see the gang setting up equipment, making plans in the mansion (during the daylight), and generally scoping things out. When one of the spectral thieves stumbles into a secret room he's teleported onto a weird, disjointed plane for a moment. Things are definitely not what they seem...
     
    Bag it or board it up? And why should things be just like what they seem? This is an easy read, a fun romp, and I bet it's going to get very weird. I like issue two much more than I liked the first issue, and I liked the first issue quite a bit. I think that's because of the dip into the truly bizarre. This is not going to be just a simple ghost story. I'll be keeping up with this series, for sure.
     
    It_CameIt Came!
     
    It's somewhere around 1958. In the British countryside a giant something crashes into the ground. Suddenly a giant, metal, alien robot monster raises from the dust and stomps his way toward London. Sounds straightforward, right? Well, it is, but this comic is not! This comic is designed to look like you're watching a cheesy late '50's B-movie. The color is all black and white and gray, there are inserts designed to look like advertisements for products and other films, and the end of this comic even features faux-IMDB pages for the two "actors" playing the characters in the comic.
     
    Bag it or board it up? So. Meta. Can't. Think. Straight. I love this idea, I love when people play with the medium. These guys are creative, bright, and doing something very interesting and new. I've seen some comics try something similar to this, but these guys are knocking it out of the park. What a treat this was to read!
     
    TWD_113The Walking Dead No. 113
     
    Poor Rick. You're always so screwed. Rick's pinned down by the psychopath Negan and his followers. He's staring down a baseball bat wrapped with barbed wire. His son is separated from him (probably for the best right now), and Andrea is busy with a psychopath in her sniper spot. Things are looking bad, and this is a very tense episode.
     
    Bag it or board it up? Some people will call this issue one of those issues where "nothing happens." Those people don't get it. Don't listen to them. There is so much character play going on in this issue. Even though all the characters are pinned down and in a stand-off the comic will still get your heart pumping. This issue is as close to a Tarantino film as The Walking Dead is ever going to get. When are we going to get to this storyline on the show? I wouldn't miss a second of it. This has been a great week for horror comics with these four really solid titles, and a good Dead issue is just the icing on the gory, horrific, haunted cake.

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    This is it! We've only got 4 more episodes of 'Dexter' left! And episode 808 "Are We There Yet?" ended on quite a shock. Looks like the brain surgeon isn't quite finished yet, nor is it the person that Dexter and Vogal initially thought it was. Below we've for the teaser for this upcoming Sunday's episode "Make Your Own Kind Of Music" along with 2 new clips. In the first clip, Dexter warns Hannah about a Federal Marshal that is tracking her down. In the second, Debra learns about Zach's death. The new episode airs this Sunday August 25th only on Showtime. Read Alsye's TV recap of "Are We There Yet?" 


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    Exhumed_2013
     
    After a lengthy hiatus and re-shuffling of personnel, San Jose, CA-based death metal unit Exhumed returned to the battlefield in 2010, and followed shortly after with the studio album All Guts, No Glory– reasserting their position in the field of gore metal, a death/grind subgenre they helped revive in the late '90s (Gore Metal is also the title of their 1998 debut album) and seizing death metal back from the more melodic tendencies that had begun to infuse the genre during that period. Frontman/guitarist Matt Harvey, the band's sole remaining founder, vowed to return to the stripped-down brutality of UK legends Carcass (whose new album arrives next month, I might add) at their simplest and most vicious... and that philosophy, as well as that record, was well-received, paving the way for their fifth full-length act of savagery, which bears a title you probably can't say three times fast.
     
    Exhumed_Necrocracy
     
    While their signature sound has been tweaked a few times over the years (no doubt the result of a revolving-door lineup since the late '90s), Exhumed partly returned to their origins with All Guts, while still giving a nod to death metal's latter-day melodic tendencies. They continue in much the same vein on Necrocracy: lumbering, grinding riffs with solid hooks, switching up and back from steadfast chugs set against mid-tempo rhythms (with Michael Hamilton now manning the drumkit) to sudden, frightening blastbeat outbursts, and lyrical themes of graphic horror delivered in Harvey's tormented demonic wail, countered by the standard death metal roars of bassist Rob Babcock and guitarist Bud Burke – who also shreds mightily, with some impressive moments in the spotlight. This familiar stamp comes down hard in the opening cut “Coins Upon The Eyes,” kicking off the album at the peak of brutality (also a wise choice for the first single and music video, which you can watch below), and manages to pack an album's worth of blastbeats into four minutes. Thankfully, the album isn't entirely front-loaded with their heaviest material, as there are some blistering old-school entries to be found throughout the record – particularly “The Rotting,” “Sickened” and “The Shape of Deaths to Come,” another winner which features neck-cracking rhythm changes and some of Harvey's most terrifying vocals.
     
    Some signs of the band's later ventures into thrash and groove – an aspect they downplayed a bit in All Guts, No Glory– surface again in Necrocracy, particularly in cuts like the title track and “Ravening,” the latter sporting some truly impressive solo playing from Burke. Some of the melodic elements and straightforward verse/chorus structures which the band brought to the table in albums like Anatomy is Destiny (and only sporadically in All Guts) return here, as demonstrated in “Dysmorphic,” which shifts into an eerie acoustic break, the swift and intense “Carrion Call” and the anthemic “(So Passes) The Glory of Death.” But the band manages to integrate these more conventional styles into their own violent dynamic, so for the most part none of the horrific energy is lost – and those hooks carry some serious dramatic weight.
     
    Exhumed_Live
    Necrocacy finds Exhumed progressing down the same stylistic path they essentially began anew in their previous record, and much like that release they've found an effective balance between the no-bullshit brutality of early-'90s death metal and more modern, melodic and groove-based elements, keeping their sound relevant while still satisfying the bloodlust of true gore-grind devotees. All you need to know about their new battle plan can be found in “Coins Upon The Eyes,” the album's best and most savage track. We've got the video for that one right here, so press play and take a dive!
     

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    Based on King's 1988 short story about an airport-hopping vampire serial killer, The Night Flier was sadly overlooked for theatrical release and has become a cult favorite since its debut on HBO in 1997 and the home video releases that followed. But the recent discovery of more than an hour of behind-the-scenes footage reveals what we've been missing all these years.
     
    Night_Flier1
     
    A YouTuber calling himself Dwight Renfield recently posted a clip containing nearly 70 minutes of video shot during the making of the film, showing director Mark Pavia chatting with stars Miguel Ferrer and Julie Entwisle on set, the crew maneuvering the killer's eerie black Cessna airplane, and of course the Night Flier himself in full monster mode, with many practical effects on display. Check it out!
     
     
    Renfield has launched an online campaign petitioning New Amsterdam Entertainment to release The Night Flier on Blu-ray, including with the new footage as a bonus feature. Find out more about it here.

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    A strange tentacled creature that secretes acid and devours bones was recently discovered in Antarctica... and no, this is not another reboot of The Thing. This is science, folks. It's just a little worm, of course, but you might want to know that they're also busily colonizing most of the world's oceans.
     
    Worm1
    Two species of “zombie worm” or “bone-eating worm,” Osedax antarcticus and deceptionensis, have recently been discovered, and according to a new story in National Geographic, they're not the first. In fact, there have been five species found so far.
     
    Worm3
    Marine biologist Thomas Dahlgren explains that these creatures tend to show up wherever dead whales are found, as whale bones are their main food source, and even their living space. The little guys tunnel into the whale bones and eventually set up housekeeping, forming entire colonies like creepy underwater tentacle gardens. Researchers tried putting other animal bones in their habitat to see if they liked the taste of them... and they did.
     
    Worm2
    As far as the “zombie worm” name goes, they don't actually return from the dead (that's just a nickname they got from an obviously cool scientist), but they do other horrifying things: for example, the males, which are much smaller than the females, can actually live inside the females' bodies... and they do, often several dozen at a time. That's just wrong.

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    Nightbreed2
     
    For decades, horror & dark fantasy legend Clive Barker has lamented the harsh cuts made to his 1990 film Nightbreed at the insistence of studio execs who didn't understand his concept of monsters-as-heroes. Fans of the film (and its source novella Cabal) shared that same regret, wishing to see Barker's true vision realized on screen, and launched the online “Occupy Midian” campaign to push for a restoration of the director's epic original cut.
     
    Word got out at this year's Comic-Con that their efforts have finally been rewarded, and now it's official: Shout! Factory and Morgan Creek Productions have just inked a deal to bring Barker's extended director's cut – The “Cabal Cut” – to DVD and Blu-ray in 2014. According to Barker himself, the new cut will contain over 45 minutes of previously unseen footage from his original version.
     
    Nightbreed1
     
    “I had a dream about the tribes of the moon,” Barker said. “They would live in a city called Midian and, though they were monsters of every shape and size, they would be the heroes of a movie called Nightbreed. However, when I made the movie, the studio was not comfortable with this inversion of the classic structure. They wanted the monsters to be simple-minded scare machines, while I wanted them to be the dark side of all of us, mysterious and misunderstood.”
     
    Nightbreed3
    Shout! Factory's horror-centric branch Scream Factory will oversee a multi-platform rollout of Nightbreed leading up to the physical DVD/Blu releases. The plan includes select theatrical screenings of “The Cabal Cut,” including one in Los Angeles this October with Barker himself present to talk about the film. 
     
    More details and dates will be revealed soon, so stay tuned!

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    Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, Frictional Games and The Chinese Room’s long-awaited follow-up to the sanity-shredding Amnesia: The Dark Descent, has finally penned in a release date having been left to cure for a few months longer than its originally planned release last Halloween.

    The new release date is now September 10th 2013, giving you plenty of time to buy new, unsullied underthings before the inevitable deluge of horror that Halloween brings.  Interestingly enough, according to Joystiq, this is not The Chinese Room’s only project: they are also working with an unnamed publisher to bring a title to next-gen consoles for a Summer 2015 release.


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