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FEARNET.com News and Reviews

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    possessionWe have all had relationships like this. Well maybe not the alien portion, but we have had relationships where communication just breaks down…where all attempts to remedy the situation are just lost in combativeness and fury. This is the real terror of Possession.

    Andrzej Zulawski is one of the greatest underrated filmmakers out there.  Though his career is stacked full of awards, accolades, and landmark art films, it is also peppered with censorship and banning, low-rent distributions, schlocky labels, and unfinished work. And many of Zulawski’s proponents argue that Possession is not horror - it’s an art film with horror elements. Bah to that nonsense! I’m adamant that horror can be one of the most compelling, dramatic, and artistic genres, which is why Possession is this week’s inclusion in The Unseen. 

    Possession focuses on the extraordinarily messy divorce between Anna (Isabelle Adjani) and Mark (Sam Neil). Isabelle wants a separation, but has provided little rationale and few motives. She is even leaving behind the couple’s son. Mark struggles to understand what is going on or even communicate with his estranged wife who is teetering on the edge of sanity. It soon becomes evident there is a lot more going on with Isabelle than just relationship issues. 

    It comes as no surprise that director Zulawski was himself going through a divorce when he created the movie. The battles and arguments are of such a refined note that they could have been created only through actual experience. The film is intense, especially the well-known and very controversial scene in a subway where Anna has a miscarriage from every orifice. Her body just writhes and leaks, which may also be one of the greatest actress deliveries in the history of cinema. This scene alone was enough to get the film banned in multiple European countries. The scene also caused Possession to be added to the UK’s dreaded  1980’s Video Nasty list of banned films. 

    Creature effects (and yes, there is a very sexual creature involved) were the work of the legendary Carlo Rambaldi. In addition to the tentacled, humping creature of Possession, Rambaldi’s special effects work also graced the scene in many giallo hits of Bava, Fulci, and Argento.  He also lent his hand to many of cinema’s utmost aliens including Dune, E.T., Alien, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    Honestly, I never had that much appreciation for Possession until a few years ago. I had seen Possession in my early teen years, but I was way too young to grasp the terror of the volatile separation, and there were barely enough alien effects to keep my narrow teenage attention. I saw this film way too young. Also, my initial viewing was on a grainy and well-worn VHS copy, which did not do the film or creature effects justice. Two years ago, Cinefamily in Los Angeles held a Zulawski festival and screened several of his few works (some of which were unfinished) in 35mm. My husband, who has always been a huge proponent of this film, insisted we attend on opening night. Possession is the most extreme shift in perception I’ve ever had with a film. This is a masterpiece about human communication and our need to make our lives mean something. The camera work may be some of the best I’ve ever seen, especially the ever-roving steadicam. Every moment of the film is simultaneously emotionally and visually riveting and exhausting. 

    Possession has never received a worthy release. During its initial distribution in the 1980’s, repeated banning kept it out of many countries. It received a VHS release in the US which is how many of us first saw the film. Even the VHS copies now sell for around $30. Possession did a limited DVD run via Anchor Bay in 2003 on a double feature with the film Shock. Even with no special features and no visual remastering, this is the only stateside DVD release of the film, so expect it to run you around $50. I highly recommend investing in a region-less player to check this title out. I dream of the day Possession gets a snazzy Bluray release with special features oozing out the eyeballs. But don’t let the lack of technological advances stop you from exploring it. Even on the paltry VHS release, Possession is still a fearless paragon of horror filmmaking that all fans must see to understand and believe. 


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    Holy smokes. Can you believe there's only 2 more episodes left of Showtime's 'Dexter'?! Both myself and Aylse are still in denial! But you can bet we'll be tuning in to see what happens these next two weeks, especially after the tense conclusion of this week's episode. (Catch up by reading Alyse's TV Recap for "Goodbye Miami") Well, we've got 2 clips and 2 previews for the final 2 episodes of the series below. 'Dexter' episode 811 titled "Monkey In A Box" airs Sunday, September 15th only on Showtime.


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    I don't know about you guys, but we here at FEARnet are actually really excited for the upcoming 'Curse Of Chucky!' While there's plenty to appreciate about the latter half of the 'Child's Play' franchise, the most impressive thing about that trailer we got for 'Curse' a few months back was what appeared to be a return back to the basics. No Tiffany. No stitched up face. Just a straight up new, original Chucky story. And if you can't wait until October 8th when 'Curse Of Chucky' will officially be released both on it's own Blu-Ray/DVD and part of a complete 'Child's Play' boxed set as well, then we've got 3 clips below to whet your appetite. Mind you, we checked them out in advance and they're not really spoiler-ish. They're just a good tease of what's in store. We're particularly digging the score for the film which we get a sample of in the "We Found Him" clip. Have a look (and listen) for yourself!


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    In Part Five, C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson continue with their insight on how to break into the mainstream entertainment business (by somebody being the gatekeeper and holding the door for you) and why certain films and books are greenlit and some are not.

    I'm of the school of thought that if somebody has something artistically strong there is enough room for anybody at that house party. My problem is that too many people who don't do things correctly or really have little to offer get into the same party. Who held the window for you?

    DERRICKSON - That's a good question. The first person of note who did it was Bryan Singer. I had come out of film school and he was the first person to read, right after Usual Suspects and he was making X-Men, and he read a script I had written and watched a short film I'd made from USC. He liked them both and brought them into Sony. That was my first real studio deal. 

    I owned an original theater program from Citizen Kane and I gave that to him as my Thank You gift because he had opened that door to me. I think everybody needs somebody who is in front of you who is established to hold the window open.

    Everybody who is in there understands that they are their own gatekeeper. There's the bouncer at the door but, man, hardly anybody gets in the front door.

    I remember an interview I did with Clive Barker and I asked him his greatest fear. He said that somebody will come up and tap him on the shoulder and say that they'd figured him out and it was over.

    DERRICKSON - (laughs) That's Clive Barker!

    CARGILL - That's everyone's fear. We had that conversation a couple of months back where we were talking about how sad it was that Blockbusters were gone and I said, Yeah I'm really bummed because that's my fall back career. (laughs) I have got 6-1/2 years of experience. I could get hired at a video store but they're gone now. Scott, you told me I didn't need to be worried about that anymore. I was just being safe. I'll bet you right now that Tom Cruise and Will Smith are sitting up at night trying to figure out how to save their career. 

    James Stewart said that he always worried about that.

    CARGILL - Everybody I talk to, everybody thinks they're a fraud. I guess it's because so much of the industry is built upon creating an image that you begin to believe that people only see the image and don't see what you've actually done and don't value what you've done. Because you as a creator don't really value what you've done. 

    Because you are just you.

    CARGILL - When you hear a song on the radio or you see a movie or you read a book you're like "Wow!" It connects with you. You think it is amazing and you don't know where this came from but wherever it came from it is amazing. But when you look at the stuff that you make, you're like, "I made that in my office." Or, "I made that in my garage. I just typed for several hours a day and suddenly there were words on a page and that's a book." You know what went into making it and that's how you look at it. You don't look at it like somebody who just picked it up and goes, "Where the hell did all of these ideas come from? How did he get all of this to work together?" 

    So you tend to undervalue and underplay your own art. A lot of people start to believe that the image that gets crafted for them is more of who they are then what the art is because they think the art is just something they made in their living room. So everybody gets this feeling that they are a fraud. Everybody's terrified that they are going to be found out at any moment and it's going to be the thumb over the shoulder, "Sorry Mr. Cargill. It's time to go. You really do need to find a video store that is still open." 

    Isn't it also that those of us in the business believe that there is a large chunk of luck involved in getting us to wherever we are? Even with all the training, since that is what luck is – being prepared for when the moment happens. But we still have that word "luck" hanging around because, like you said, very few people go in through the front door.

    DERRICKSON - I think the best advice I ever heard from anybody about the Hollywood industry and being within the business of Art and Entertainment on this global level was a producer I worked with one time who said to me that Hollywood is an industry built to cycle you out. That's what it does. It is organized to cycle you out of that party. It's always throwing people out. What you've got to do is get up and work hard at it every single day to give that machinery a reason to not cycle you out. 

    You're fighting to get your ass back toward that front door the entire time so that you aren't pushed out the back.

    DERRICKSON - That's the work ethic part. I had the experience of feeling for a minute that I had been found out after making The Day The Earth Stood Still. I thought that maybe I would never make another movie again because that movie wasn't received so well. I think that was a really good experience for me because I think the creative answer that drove me to was that I just needed to make every movie like it was my last movie. It might be! Someday it will be. I got rid of the idea, completely abandoned the idea, of thinking too strategically about what I'm going to make. Instead my attitude is that every movie I make I'm going to assume I won't get to make another one afterwards. I won't make it unless I feel that way about it.

    - - - 

    Both Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill can be found on their Facebook sites

    Del Howison is a journalist, writer and Bram Stoker Award-winning editor. He is also the co-founder and owner of Dark Delicacies “The Home of Horror” in Burbank, CA. He can be reached at Del@darkdel.com.


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    Holiday sweaters have long been the bane of many kids' existence. They are bulky, they are itchy, and they are definitely not cool. No one looks good in them. I just assume now that every single holiday sweater is worn ironically. Every Christmas party I have been invited to in the last decade or so has had an "ugly holiday sweater" theme.

    Shredders Knit Apparel is here to help, by making ugly holiday sweaters ironic on purpose. They are "taking it back" as they say. In the style of traditional ugly X-Mas sweaters, you can now get them with designs that include bigfoot, Krampus, and Satanic themes. You will impress your friends, and you could probably even wear these to your family holiday dinners. Old Aunt Edna is nearly blind now, right? Stay in the shadows and she just might mistake that demon for a reindeer.

    The sweaters are available for pre-order from Shredders (never to early to plan for the holidays). Each sweater will set you back about $80, but these are definitely sweaters you can wear for years to come.


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    I’ve made it no secret that I think the '80s and '90s brought some of the best children’s cartoons the world will ever see. The back-stories that explained the characters' histories and rise to fame or infamy were always amusing, and the level of creativity put into cartoons during those two decades seemed stronger than those which followed. Sometimes we cheered for the hero, sometimes we cheered for the villain. But regardless of which side you were pulling for, chances are that you loved to see someone's ass being kicked... and here's ten examples of characters who dished it out.
     
    Venom
     
    Venom from Spider-Man: The Animated Series
     
    Venom is the arch-nemesis of Spider-Man (in this series, he is created from Spidey’s own DNA). In addition to being an enemy, he is also the proud owner of an awesome tongue. Venom is a big-time ass kicker and a determined super-villain, and given his ability to shape-shift, he can kick ass in a variety of different forms. I remember him being extremely difficult to defeat – at least for me – in the Spider-Man Sega Genesis game, which furthers my belief that he is not to be trifled with.
     
    She-Ra
     
    She-Ra, Princess of Power
     
    The '80s and '90s were full of interesting characters created almost solely for the purpose of promoting a corresponding toy line, but that marketing ploy nevertheless led to the creation of several outstanding cartoons. Masters of the Universe and She-Ra: Princess of Power are two such examples. She-Ra is a purveyor of justice, but that isn’t to suggest that The Princess of Power cannot start some shit. In fact, she was once a part of The Evil Horde, so we know she can get down like a boss. She-Ra has muscles bigger than I do and you just know she is capable of beating the living daylights out of anyone stupid enough to look at her the wrong way.
     
    Matt_Tracker
     
    Matt Tracker of M.A.S.K.
     
    “Illusion is the Ultimate Weapon!” M.A.S.K. is a bit of a forgotten classic which I myself had forgotten about it until recently. It tends to be overshadowed by shows like G.I. Joe and Transformers, that have received the Hollywood film treatment. The M.A.S.K team was headed by ultimate badass Matt Tracker, who repeated attempt to thwart the evildoings of the V.E.N.O.M. team. (Everything had an acronym in the '80s.) In case you're interested in a refresher course on the various ways in which Matt Tracker can and will kick your ass, our friends at Shout! Factory have released the entire series in one convenient DVD box set.
     
    He-Man
     
    He-Man from Masters of the Universe
     
    Like his twin sister She-Ra, He-Man is one of the so-called good guys, but that doesn’t mean that he's above dishing out a good beatdown. He’s always kicking Skeletor’s ass, and he's probably just waiting for you to step out of line so that he can kick yours. I am absolutely positive that if you made a crack about his mushroom haircut, He-Man would unleash hell on you without giving it a second thought. 
     
    Toxie
     
    Toxie from Toxic Crusaders
     
    This series had an earth-friendly theme, as was the trend at the time of its release: don’t pollute, or Toxie will kick your ass with his magical mop. One of the most unusual concepts for a kids' cartoon, Toxie is based on the notorious Troma antihero The Toxic Avenger... minus his graphically violent homicidal tendencies, of course. Unfortunately, the series was short-lived (lasting only 13 episodes), but it remains a celebrated classic in certain circles, inspiring several merchandising endeavors, including games for both Nintendo systems, and eventually a 1997 feature film.
     
    Megatron
     
    Megatron from Transformers
     
    Megatron is a high-level sociopath bent on global domination, marketed to children in the form of a toy. He's the leader of the evil Decepticons, sworn enemies of the heroic Autobots, and has aspirations to rule the world. He really has it all: brute strength, no capacity for guilt or remorse, a desire to rule the world, and a propensity for kicking ass. What more could a young child ask for from a plaything?
     
    Shredder
     
    Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
     
    Less commonly known as Oroku Saki, this ultra-powerful ninja warrior has always been a sworn enemy to the Turtles. He has one of the cooler getups amongst his cartoon villain peers, and more importantly loves kicking some ass. He doesn’t always triumph over the turtles, of course; in fact, he rarely sees any kind of victory over the adolescent martial arts enthusiasts, but he can easily put the hurt on nearly any other character on the show.
     
    Skeletor
     
    Skeletor from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
     
    Skeletor would like nothing more than to hurl you off of Snake Mountain and send you careening to your death. He often has pent-up frustration as a direct result of always losing to the mighty He-Man – which, in all fairness, would be hard to cope with for just about anyone, but especially so for an evil skull-faced, purplish suit-wearing evildoer. Even if Skeletor can’t ever seem to overthrow Castle Grayskull, he can still overthrow you.
     
    Cobra
     
    Cobra Commander from G.I. Joe
     
    Cobra Commander was intent upon both world domination and ass-kicking. He always had it out for the Joes, and was always up to one brand of tomfoolery or another. Crazy like a fox and ten times more deadly, Cobra Commander is a maniacal dictator hell-bent on world domination, and he won’t stop until he achieves it... or dies trying. 

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    american psychoPatrick Bateman may be headed to small screens soon, as FX goes into development on a TV series based on American Psycho.

    The series would take place after the 2000 film starring Christian Bale, and be set in the present day. The film, like the Bret Easton Ellis novel it is based on, is set in the late 1980s, amongst the oppressive consumerism and greed of Wall Street. It doesn't seem so far removed to set the series in 2013.

    The TV series would follow Bateman, now in his 50s, as he trains a new sociopath to become the next American Psycho. There is no doubt in my mind that this project got the go-ahead after the success of another movie-to-TV project, Bates Motel.  

    The series is currently in development, so no cast has been announced yet.

    Source: Deadline


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    As we creep towards American Horror Story: Coven's October 9th premiere date, we get our first peek at the cast in this new teaser, "Initiation." A flood of stylish witches in matching outfits (I want their hat) enter a gothic mansion and are greeted by the larger-than-life Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, and Angela Bassett. 

    Plus there is a naked minotaur.


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    Nightmare_Magazine

    FEARnet is proud to present brand new fiction from Nightmare Magazine. Once a month, we'll be featuring a story from Nightmare’s current issue. This month's selection is “Halfway Home” by Linda Nagata. Please tell us what you think and enjoy!

    "Halfway Home" by Linda Nagata
     
    The airliner’s safety brochure was like every other I’d seen: laminated and perfect, showing a large jet afloat in calm water, the emergency chutes deployed with inflatable rafts at their ends awaiting the arrival of passengers after a perfect water landing.
     
    “Those diagrams are terribly optimistic,” the woman in the seat beside me said, eyeing the brochure as our plane climbed away from Manila. She spoke masterful English, clipped with a Filipino accent. “Let’s hope we never have to test that theory.”
     
    I turned to her, intrigued. We were seated in the coach section, two women, strangers, traveling alone to Los Angeles. I had the window seat; she was on the aisle. I’d flown a lot, and I knew the social rules for the small talk that goes on between strangers forced to sit side-by-side for hours on end. A discussion of the false promises illustrated in the safety brochure did not come close to qualifying under those rules.
     
    “Prepare for the worst,” I said. “That’s my philosophy. At least know where the exits are.”
     
    “You’re a rare type, then. Most people give no consideration to the worst-case scenario.” 
     
    She had come on board late, a slight and lovely woman, maybe forty years old, her brown skin made utterly smooth by a veneer of makeup, her black hair permed into loose curls that framed a balanced face. She dared to wear a salmon-colored business suit that somehow worked for her—a happy color that relieved some of the fatigue visible around her eyes.
     
    After stowing a small bag under the seat with worried haste, she had acknowledged me with a courteous nod and then closed her eyes, seeming to have fallen asleep before we reached the runway.
     
    I was a different sort of woman than my new companion: a tall and rangy California blonde, casually dressed in a cream pullover and cargo pants. I hadn’t even bothered with makeup. I was on my way home, a fifteen-hour flight shared with strangers whose opinions and lives had nothing to do with mine.
     
    I refolded the brochure and put it back in the seat pocket. “I’ve seen the worst case,” I told her. “More than once. I’ve learned to prepare.”
     
    She cocked her head, her gaze distracted, a skeptical frown furrowing her brow. “If you can prepare,” she murmured, more as if she were wondering aloud than speaking to me, “surely it is not the worst case?” Her gaze shifted to meet mine then shot away again, as a self-conscious smile quirked her lips. “Ah, I’m sorry. I’ve overstepped.” She leaned back in her seat, dabbing a tissue against her cheeks, where a sheen of sweat seeped through her makeup. “My occupation leads to an unhealthy fascination with hazard assessments.”
     
    “What do you do?” I asked with honest interest.
     
    “Geek work. Engineering appraisals of biohazard containment procedures under laboratory conditions.” She settled her small hands one atop the other in her lap. “Modeling the worst-case scenario is just part of the daily grind, but it’s always been theory for me. No real world tests. Not yet. And you? What experience has led you to always map the exits?”
     
    “Call me a professional adventurer.”
     
    I was a photographer and a mountain climber. For ten years I’d scrimped and saved and sought grants, managing to get myself on expeditions around the world. Not all of them had gone well. I told her about a disastrous climb on Denali when an avalanche hit, taking out most of our party and leaving me with a broken arm. And another time on Everest when crowds of amateurs slowed our descent as a storm rolled in. 
     
    “I learned not to count on other people, because when disaster strikes, most of them panic. In the worst case? It comes down to everyone for themselves, and if you’re not strong enough to accept that, you won’t survive. My name’s Halley, by the way.”
     
    “Anita.”
     
    She offered her hand. Its warmth surprised me, almost feverish in its intensity. “Are you all right?”
     
    Anita gave me an indulgent smile. “I have a severe nickel allergy.” Touching the far side of her neck, she drew my gaze to a mottled, red rash. “I was given a necklace that turned out to be . . . less than I thought. A slight fever is part of my allergic reaction. It should clear up in a few hours.”
     
    “Not a worst-case scenario, then.” I kept my voice light, as if it was a joke, but I was uneasy. I didn’t want to spend the first week of my homecoming laid out by some exotic Asian fever acquired from a biohazard engineer. Too much irony in that.
     
    Anita laughed again, though this time it sounded forced. “You must be thinking I’m the worst-case scenario for the passenger in the adjacent seat. Gloomy and ill.”
     
    “No. Worst case would be if something went wrong and I was stuck sitting next to someone too big to push aside or climb over on my way to the exit. Everyone for themselves, remember?” I smiled like it was a macabre joke, but it was the truth, and judging by her somber expression, she knew it.
     
    “Maybe we’ll get lucky,” she said. “And stay in the air all the way to Los Angeles.”
     
    “Best-case scenario,” I agreed.
     
     I think it came to us both that we’d said more than we should have, and we retreated into silence.
     
    ***
     
    I woke with a start. The cabin was dark: just the floor lights and a few reading lamps. The air was too warm, thick with exhaled breaths. A nervous whisper rode atop an ominous silence. Why couldn’t I hear any engine noise? I glanced down, to see Anita’s white-knuckled hand clutching the armrest between us.
     
    “What the hell is going on?” My ears popped. “Are we descending?” I pulled out my phone to check the time, confirming that it was too soon to be landing, too soon by hours. We were hardly halfway home.
     
    Anita turned to me, her shoulders hunched, reflected light glinting in her dark eyes, her lips parted to admit the quick, shallow breaths that mark the edge of panic. She looked to me like a hunted creature at bay, an impression reinforced by her words. “This can’t be happening. It can’t.”
     
    “What is happening?”
     
    “The engines! Listen to them. They’ve been cutting out, one by one.” There was a mad focus to her eyes as she added, “It’s a judgment. Against me.”
     
    I pulled the buckle on my seatbelt and started to rise. “I’m going to go talk to someone. Where the hell are the flight attendants anyway?” 
     
    I jumped as a man’s voice, humble with apology, issued from the speakers. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have an emergency.”
     
    ***
     
    The plane was going down.
     
    As the news sank in, passengers wailed, cried, prayed. 
     
    I re-buckled my seatbelt and put on my life vest.
     
    Next I looked for the exit sign. It hung above the aisle, four seats ahead. If I survived the impact, I promised myself I would do whatever it took to reach that exit. The pilot had assured us our situation was known. Rescue was already on the way. We wouldn’t be in the water long. If I could get out of the plane alive, I’d have a good chance to survive.
     
    Beside me, Anita kept her white-knuckled grip on the armrest, but she wasn’t crying, she wasn’t praying. She stared ahead at nothing. She’d assessed our odds in her first words to me, when she called the safety brochure terribly optimistic. “Anita.”
     
    She turned. It was too dark to really see her face, but I saw her hand let go of the armrest. She took my hand; squeezed it, her palm even hotter than it had been before, hot and dry. “You’re a survivor, Halley. Do whatever it takes to live through this. Climb over me. Climb over anyone, but live. Someone has to, or it’s for nothing.”
     
    For nothing?
     
    I wondered what she meant . . . but I didn’t really care. It didn’t matter. In just a few minutes all of us on the plane would likely be dead. “Put your vest on,” I told her. I helped her with it, buckling it around her waist.
     
    Outside the window there was only darkness. I pressed my forehead against the plastic pane and peered up, but I couldn’t see any stars. I couldn’t see the ocean below us. No way to know how much farther we had to fall.
     
    The plane began to shudder.
     
    People screamed—a chaos of animal noises that my fear-filled brain refused to truly hear, blurring and blending the sound with the roar of wind rushing past our powerless wings—all of it abruptly overridden by the pilot’s terror-edged voice, “Assume crash position. Assume crash position!”
     
    I grabbed Anita’s hand. Then I bent at the waist, my head pressed to my knees and one palm braced against the seat back in front of me—a position that felt to me as useless as a prayer, but I prayed too. I held onto Anita’s hand and prayed I would be one of the survivors.
     
    We hit hard. I heard some kind of debris slam against the ceiling. I didn’t look up to see what it might be. The plane bounced. We hit again.
     
    The fuselage screamed with the voice of aluminum tearing. Luggage exploded out of the overhead rack—and then the fuselage cracked apart.
     
    It broke right in front of me. Darkness swept in, and a howling wind. Fluid sprayed in my face—though whether it was blood or hydraulics or the ocean itself, I couldn’t tell because we were tumbling, swirling, cartwheeling on a long chaotic fall into the arms of death.
     
    ***
     
    Or was it life?
     
    We assume it’s easy to tell the difference.
     
    ***
    Clawing at consciousness, I awoke to a low, rumbling assault of sound, and a raw awareness of pain. Everything hurt. My skull, my face, my back, my hips . . . every muscle along my sides. I blinked, and found myself gazing at black smoke roiling across a starry sky. I was lying on my back, still belted in my seat. The wall of the fuselage was still beside me. The little window framed a fiery light, but the seats that had been in front of me were gone. The fuselage had split right at my feet, and the front of the plane had torn away.
     
    A hysterical little laugh escaped my throat as I remembered my promise to do whatever it took to reach the exit.
     
    The exit was wide open now.
     
    A soft whump startled me. A nearby roar of rushing water followed it. My seat shuddered. Rain pelted my face—salty rain, ocean water. The sound I heard was the sound of a breaking wave . . . sweeping around the fuselage? As the wave retreated it left behind a steady, bold roar unlike any ocean sound I’d heard before.
     
    Braced for pain, I turned my head, peering through the window at a lurid light, blurred and refracted by a layer of water droplets clinging to the outside of the window. Something was burning out there, but I couldn’t see it clearly enough to know what it might be.
     
    White water surged up and slapped hard against the plastic pane. Instinctively, I jerked back, while the fuselage trembled around me, and more salty water rained down.
     
    A child wailed.
     
    I gasped, realizing this was the first voice I’d heard since waking. The only voice. In the seconds since I’d opened my eyes there had been no screaming, no crying, no pleas for help, no reassurances . . . just the rumble of the ocean, the roar of the fire, and now, one child’s despairing wail.
     
    That cry made me move.
     
    “I’m coming,” I called out in a rusty croak, groping at my seatbelt until I got it undone. “I’m coming. Don’t be afraid.”
    A stupid thing to say.
     
    I squiggled and shifted and found that my body still worked. I got my feet under me and turned to climb out of my seat—only to discover Anita in my way. Refracted firelight shimmered in her eyes as she lay blinking up at me. Water swirled behind her head. I looked past her, in a direction that was now down, toward what had been the back of the plane. Everything back there belonged to the ocean now. I thought I saw drowned faces beneath the water’s unquiet, dark surface but the light was poor. It was hard to be sure.
     
    The child cried again.
     
    Across the aisle, only one other seat remained above the water. The seats that should have completed the row weren’t there. I had to assume that, like the front of the plane, they’d been ripped away in the crash.
     
    The child huddled in the sanctuary of that one seat, a boy maybe seven years old. He’d gotten out of his seatbelt; he’d even remembered to inflate his life vest. It looked like a huge yellow pillow strapped to his chest. He clung to the vertical seat cushion, weeping as water rose and fell around his feet, soaking his shoes and his pants.
     
    “I’m coming,” I told him.
     
    I told myself, Go! 
     
    But Anita was in the way. She hadn’t moved at all; I needed to know if she could. “Are you hurt?” I asked her, all too aware of currents of hot air moving past my face, missives from the roaring fire just outside.
     
    As Anita opened her mouth to answer, another wave hit. The torn fuselage shuddered, the seat shifted beneath me, and I almost fell on top of her. I caught myself with a hand against her seatback. My fingers came away sticky, smelling of blood.
     
    “Leave me,” she said, in a high half-shriek. “Save yourself. Live.
     
    She was right. Injured, helpless, likely with hours to go before rescue came, her prospects were slim. The smart thing to do would be to abandon her, and focus on the child.
     
    Go,” she pleaded. “Before you can’t get out.”
     
    I started to go; I tried to go—what did I care for her life? I hardly knew her. We’d sat together, we’d shared a few words—but then we’d held hands, and our abstract acquaintance had become personal. I couldn’t leave her. 
     
    I felt for her seatbelt and popped it open, telling myself I was strong enough to help her and the child too. “Come on! We’re getting out of here. Put your arm around my shoulder.”
     
    She was delirious. She tried to push me away. I grabbed the red tabs dangling from her vest and pulled them. I pulled my own. Both vests inflated and I pushed her into the water that flooded the aisle. 
     
    We bobbed at the surface. 
     
    I turned her onto her back, gripped the straps at her shoulder, and dragged her with me as I worked my way around the boy’s seat. Beyond him, firelight glimmered on open water. That’s where I wanted to be. That light was hope glimmering—the desperate hope of not being drowned when the wreckage around us finally pitched over.
     
    I cleared the seat and felt a strong pull of ocean current. Holding one arm out to the boy, I called to him, “Come! Jump!” 
     
    He didn’t hesitate. He threw himself at me, a skinny little thing strapped into a vest so big he looked like he might levitate. A rumbling growl warned me that a wave was coming. I got an arm around him. He got an arm around me. “Deep breath!” I yelled as a mountain of white water plunged over us.
     
    Like the plane crash, there was nothing I could do except hold on. We tumbled. My head hit against a sandy bottom. I felt the boy thrash. I felt Anita flail, prying at my fingers, trying to get me to let go. Her elbow struck my ribs, but I held on, my fingers locked around the straps of her life vest. I swore to myself we would survive, that we would all three survive together.
     
    The wave let us go. 
     
    I rolled onto my back and gasped for air, letting the life vest hold me up. I made sure the boy’s face was out of the water, and then Anita. “It’s okay,” I murmured to them, my voice pitched so high it frightened me. “We’re doing okay.” The boy had his arm around my neck, so tight it was painful. I was glad. It told me he was strong, not like Anita. She drifted beside us, nearly unconscious.
     
    The wave had carried us maybe fifty feet from the broken fuselage. A fire still shimmered beyond it, though it was less than it had seemed through the window. A yellow fragment of moon floated low above the horizon, illuminating a line of white water that must surely mark a distant reef . . . and I realized then that the fuselage must have been resting on a reef, with waves breaking around it . . . but it made no sense. The north Pacific is vast and nearly empty, and while I could believe our pilot had hoped to come down near some patch of reef or on some spot of an island—Johnston Atoll maybe? Palmyra?—to imagine that he had succeeded was more than I could accept.
     
    With my charges in tow, I swiveled around, where I was presented with more evidence of the impossible.
     
    Visible in the moon’s light, not a hundred feet away, was a sand beach, rising steeply to a line of brush and skeletal trees. Water sloshed into my open mouth. I spit it out, sure I was suffering a hallucination, seeing a mirage. Reality had slipped. We had come to a place where the odds did not allow us to be. 
     
    Somehow, we had been given a chance—and I took it. 
     
    With one hand on Anita’s straps and the boy clinging to me with a relentless grip, I kicked my shoes off, kicked at the water, and slowly, slowly, I brought us all to that impossible shore. 
     
    The boy stood up as we reached the shallows, but Anita couldn’t walk, or maybe she didn’t want to. “I’m not going to leave you,” I warned her, and I dragged her arm around my shoulder, hauling her up the beach, while the boy ran ahead, scouting beneath the vegetation until he found a hollow that offered shelter from a relentless wind. I got Anita out of her vest, and used it as a pillow for her head. Her skin was hot, but she was shivering so I piled sand around her legs. The boy helped me. 
     
    “What’s your name?” I asked him as I unbuckled his vest. He gave me a puzzled look, so I tried one of the few Tagalog words I knew.
    “Pangalan?”
     
    “Hilario,” he told me in a shy, frightened voice. I tried to remember who he’d been traveling with . . . mama or daddy or both? But they’d been strangers, of no importance to me, and I’d paid no attention. I ruffled his wet hair, and gave him a hug.
     
    Out on the reef, the broken fuselage had been pushed over by the waves, submerged just below the surface. Every time a breaker rolled past, spray flew into the air, brilliant white in the moonlight. I watched it and realized: I survived. 
     
    I was alive, I’d saved two other people, and rescue was surely on its way.
     
    “Come, Hilario.” I took his hand and we walked up and down the windswept beach, but nowhere did we find any other survivors, not even a body washed up on the beach, and no debris from the wreck. 
     
    This was not reality as I knew it. It was unnatural. All too neat. 
     
    As dawn began to lighten the sky, we made our way back to Anita. On the way I listened for a rescue plane, or a helicopter from some passing Navy ship, but I heard only the boom and rumble of waves.
     
    “Is there water?” Anita whispered when we returned to her. “Tubig?”
     
    “No, there’s nothing. But rescue should be coming soon.”
     
    I sat cross-legged beside her. Hilario tumbled into my lap, and I held him close. He was mine now. It felt that way. I kissed his salty cheek, and then I put my hand on Anita’s forehead. The dry heat of her skin shocked me. Her fever was much worse.“My God.”
     
    “Right on time,” she whispered. 
     
    “What?”
     
    “I meant to die in L.A.” 
     
    “What are you talking about?”
     
    “It doesn’t . . . really matter.” 
     
    Her voice was weak, her words hard to hear. I leaned closer, and my gaze fell on the rash at her neck. Like her fever, it was worse, a collection of tiny pustules, some of them glimmering wet with fluid.
     
    I pulled back. “That’s not from an allergy. What’s wrong with you, Anita?” 
     
    She smiled at me as if we were good friends. “You survived the crash, Halley, just like you said you would.” Her whispery voice was almost lost in the wind. “Maybe you’ll survive the plague, too. It’s possible. One in a hundred should. Maybe two in a hundred, with the best hospital care.”
     
    She was delirious. She didn’t know what she was saying. Her fever, her head injury, the shock of the crash, had combined to plunge her into the nightmare that must have haunted her career, the worst-case scenario of a biohazard plague escaping one of her labs . . . 
    That’s what I wanted to believe.
     
    But when I looked again at the pustules on her neck, I couldn’t hold onto my denial. With Hilario in my arms, I stood up, and backed a step away. Her gaze followed me. “Everyone on the plane,” she murmured, “infected by the time we reached L.A.”
     
    “We didn’t make it to L.A.”
     
    You’ll make it. It only takes one. You’re that one. The right one, because you’ll do what’s needed to survive.”
     
    ***
     
    It’s not true. 
     
    That’s what I told myself, over and over again as Hilario and I held hands and walked the beach. It couldn’t be true. 
    But what if it was? What if she had made herself the dark angel of the apocalypse, bearing a pestilence that only one in a hundred would survive? 
     
    I went back to see her, to plead with her to tell me the truth, but the truth was lost. Her eyes had clouded. She was gone.
     
    ***
     
    I sat on the beach with Hilario, shivering, but not from cold. Wasn’t it a miracle the plane had crashed? Euphoria swept over me as I thought about it. Horror rolled in on its heels. Over 330 people had been on that plane. They were gone now, lost. It was a tragedy—and yet if Anita could be believed, so many more, almost all the world, had been made safer because of it. 
     
    The drone of a distant helicopter startled me from my musings. I looked up, to see, beyond the reef, the silhouette of a Navy ship looming against the yellow glow of the predawn sky. The helicopter was a flyspeck, speeding toward the boiling water that marked the sunken fuselage of the plane.
     
    Hilario leaped up. His eyes went wide as he took in the ship, and a beautiful grin broke out across his face. He whooped, jumping up and down and waving his arms in mad greeting. 
     
    I whooped and waved too, but my delirious relief faded as dread descended over me. I sank to the sand, watching Hilario jump up and down, up and down, his high voice crying out in words that I did not understand. 
     
    Wasn’t it a miracle that our plane had crashed? And wasn’t it a miracle that Anita had survived, if only just long enough for me to learn that she’d placed an apocalypse in my hands?
     
     “Come!” Hilario screamed, using a rare English word. “Come!”
     
    My voice broke as I told him, “No, baby. They can’t come here.”
     
    He hesitated, turning to me with worried eyes. I got up and ran to the top of the beach where a line of driftwood had collected. I grabbed a large stick. I remembered Anita’s last words to me, You’ll do what you need to do to survive. She’d been so sure of me. I’d been so sure of myself.
     
    I darted back down to where the sand was wet, as close to the wave wash as I dared, and I started scratching deep scars, digging down to the wet, dark sand to form giant letters. Hilario came to watch me with a worried frown on his sweet face. I gave him what I hoped was a reassuring smile but I kept working, because it wasn’t the apocalypse that Anita had placed in my hands after all: it was the lives of ninety-nine out of a hundred people—and how personal every one of those lives felt to me, resting in my hands. 
     
    Our rescuers read my message and retreated. 
     
    Hilario called for them to come back and when they didn’t he ran to me and we cried together as the waves slowly erased my warning and my plea: 
     
    TERRORISM-BIOWARFARE
    DON'T COME
     
    I wanted to explain to Hilario that the helicopter would be back. That our rescuers would come again, in biohazard suits, bearing miracle drugs, and that against all odds the two of us would survive even in the face of this worst-case scenario.
     
    I wanted to tell him that.
     
    I wanted to believe it.
     
    But an untenable chain of miracles had brought us to this deserted shore. It made no sense to me that the pilot could have guided our plane here with no power in the engines, and it made no sense that only Anita, Hilario, and I should survive the crash and escape the wreckage, the boy and I not even hurt, and no sign of anyone else.
     
    It made no sense. 
     
    We should have died on that plane with everyone else, our plague-infected bodies safely lost and unrecoverable beneath the deep waters of the Pacific. 
     
    I think maybe we did die.
     
    It could be delirium setting in with the first brush of fever, but the hours since the plane crash do not seem real to me. Looking back, it feels like everything that’s happened since I awoke in the wreckage has been a question posed to my soul.
     
    And my answer?
     
    I cradle Hilario as he weeps against my chest.
     
    My answer surprised even me.
     

    Nightmare Magazine is edited by bestselling anthology editor John Joseph Adams (Wastelands, The Living Dead). This story first appeared in Nightmare’s September 2013 issue, which also features original fiction by C.S. McMullen (“The Nest”), along with reprints by The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman (“Alone, Together”) and legendary horror scribe Peter Straub (“A Short Guide to the City”). We also have the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus author spotlights with most of our authors, a showcase on our cover artist, and a feature interview with horror author/homicide detective Joe McKinney. You can wait for the rest of this month's contents to be serialized online, or you can buy the whole issue right now in convenient eBook format for just $2.99. It's a great issue, so be sure to check it out. And while you're at it, tell a friend about Nightmare!

     


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    Clown2
     
    Go ahead, admit it. You're scared to death of clowns. You're definitely not alone in this fear, and while we horror fans are totally familiar with all of the evil personifications of clowns in movies, comics, stories and artwork, some of us are still wondering why a traditional figure of fun, humor and entertainment is now more commonly considered one of the scariest damn things ever to walk the earth.
     
    While the world of clinical psychology has not yet recognized the fear of clowns as an official condition, it does have a scientific name: “Coulrophobia.” An amazing new essay in Smithsonian Magazine examines this phobia in depth (with lots of nightmare-inducing photos, of course), and attempts to trace its origins, as well as speculating on exactly when in history clowns suddenly went from happy to horrifying.
     
    Clown4
     
    The thesis, which includes input from several academic authorities, ventures back through recorded history for ancient tales of court jesters and similar entertainers from every part of the world, including popular clowns like Joseph Grimaldi (whose memoir was written by Charles Dickens), the opera character Pagliacci, sad clown icon Emmett Kelly, and TV clowns like Bozo and Ronald McDonald. Their inquiries led to the theory that even the most playful clowns have had a darker side... and point out serial killer John Wayne Gacy, whose party-clown persona masked a homicidal secret, as one of the key moments when a clown's evil side crossed over into grim reality.
     
    Among their research, they've found workshops designed to help people overcome their clown fears, and recount an incident in Florida where a clown-themed art exhibit was desecrated by unknown vandals with an apparent vendetta against the red-nosed, floppy-shoed monstrosities. They also cite surveys which reveal the majority of modern-day children find clowns to be either totally scary... or just plain annoying. Of course, they also examine the influence of clowns on modern horror movies – from Poltergeist's evil doll to the demonic Pennywise in Stephen King's IT, or more comic monsters like Killer Klowns from Outer Space.
     
    Clown3
     
    According to studies cited in the article, most children outgrow their fear of clowns, while up to two percent of adults never overcome it (we think that number is actually a lot higher), and they conclude that the scary clown trend is probably not going away anytime soon... but you already knew that, didn't you?

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    Today's entry in our ongoing series on the spookier side of urban exploration is something of a special case, as this location comes with its own very well-known haunted backstory – one which became the stuff of nightmares for kids and adults alike.
     
    Farm6
     
    The 300-acre Farm Colony on Staten Island is one of the largest abandoned locations in New York, and has multiple layers of creepy history, each more disturbing than the next. A recent photo tour of the site, covered in the blog Atlas Obscura, revealed that the body of an unknown girl was once discovered beneath one of the decrepit colony buildings... and that she might not be the only one.
     
    Farm7
     
    The Colony's history goes back to the late 17th century, when it was part of the town of Castleton. The land was acquired by the government a century later to build housing for the poor, who were an active part of the community until they became too old to work. By the '50s it had become an hospital for many of those aging tenants, and that's when things got scary. Workers at the facility reported sighting deceased residents wandering the corridors.
     
    Farm8
     
    After it was fully abandoned in the 1970s, the Colony became the site of many mysterious disappearances, mostly involving children. The incidents continued through the next decade, and would eventually be linked to the century-old legend of “The Cropsey Maniac” – a popular campfire tale among Staten Island residents, meant to scare kids away from the Greeenbelt region, where the Colony is located. If the name Cropsey sounds familiar, it's because it became the inspiration for at least two slasher films: 1981's The Burning, in which the killer was actually named Cropsey, and later Madman, whose writers redubbed their monster “Madman Marz” when they learned of the earlier production. Each boogeyman had his own backstory, but was loosely based on the same legend.
     
    Farm5
     
    But the child disappearances were quite real; most of the victims were disabled kids from the nearby Willowbrook State School, where an orderly named Andre Rand became the chief suspect. Rumors spread that Rand had a network of tunnels beneath the Colony, and apparently camped out on the site. These incidents became the subject of the 2010 documentary Cropsey, which explored the real-life events as well as the origin of the boogeyman tales.
     
    Farm9
     
    Drop by Atlas Obscura for the complete tour and detailed history of the Colony... which even in broad daylight looks spooky as hell. 

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    Face Off Episode 505
    “Mother Earth Goddess”
    Original Airdate: 10 September 2013

    In This Episode...

    The contestants must create their own earth mother goddesses. There must be a focus on beauty, and to make it personal, there should be at least one aspect of their moms represented in the makeups.

    The Creations

    Roy came back big after last week’s epic failure. His mom was represented in the tree roots, as she grounds the family. Neville said this was one of his favorites, and found it elegantly balanced. Glenn thought it was beautiful, full of smart decisions, and he loved the color. Ve also loved the color, and thought the bit of pink peeking through on the face was stunning.

    Eddie aimed to make a warrior goddess, to show his mother as the strength of the family. Unfortunately, there was not a feminine detail to be seen. Not only did he not do any beauty makeup, he left his model’s face completely bare. Not a hint of mascara or a whisper of lip gloss.  The only touch were creepy yellow contacts which just looked incongruous. Glenn saw this as Eddie trying to take on too much. The sculpt was rough and poor decisions were made all around.

    Scott’s mom grew up on a farm, so he wanted to include... well, I don’t know how the farm worked into his all red, devilish creation. Neville couldn’t get the chest plate which was supposed to represent tree bark but instead looked like flayed skin. Not appropriate for a beauty makeup challenge. Ve thought there was way too much orange and didn’t have any feminine shapes. 

    RJ was a little put-off by the challenge because he did something similar in season two. He didn’t want to regurgitate an old makeup, so he decided to make a 1960s mom that is kind of green and nature-y. Ve thought it was simply a total failure - he didn’t even do a beauty makeup on his model - but Glenn was much more offended by the fact that he dismissed the challenge all together.

    I wasn’t crazy about Lyma’s makeup, but the judges were. Mostly, I was put off by the big, see-through pregnant belly that had a stuffed bunny inside to represent fertility (she was closest to her mother when she was pregnant). It was a little cheesy and overtly on-point. Glenn thought that was a “genius” idea and wants to see an expansion of this idea of fertility. He also liked te “heavenly” approach with her hair, which I agree with. (But what was up with the weird brown stumpy things on the top of her head? They looked like internal organs.) Neville was impressed by the bold shapes.

    Laura made a skirt out of trumpet flowers to represent her mom’s love of music, and did a caterpillar makeup to represent her mother’s Buddhist beliefs. I didn’t really see the caterpillar, but she had an amazing paint job that wowed all the judges. Neville called it “freaking gorgeous” and a “sublime palette.” Glenn was astonished by the detail and the quality that she was able to accomplish in a solo challenge.

    Other creations this week:

    Verdict?

    Laura won; RJ went home.

    Dig It or Bury It?

    I was a little underwhelmed with the theme of this episode, but it didn’t end up being the hippie nonsense I thought it would be. Plus there is something about the way this episode was cut together that made it a little more engrossing. There was more time watching the process of creating makeups as opposed to lots of quick montages.

    Prophecies?

    Enough with this hippie mumbo-jumbo. Next week: Halloween comes early!!


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    I loves me some zombies. I'm a sucker for them. In any medium, on any decoration... love 'em. With the massive success of zombies in the mainstream (we have The Walking Dead mainly to thank / blame) the saturation of zombie paraphernalia has reached critical mass. But still, I hung in there, I consumed more than my fair share of zombie movies and trinkets.

    I think I'm done now. 

    Why? What did it in for me? It wasn't the adult zombie penguin costume:

    That was a little ridiculous, but I could appreciate the weirdnes. Nope, what really got me were the zombie banana:

    And the zombie hot dog:

    I expect a zombie slice of bacon any day now.

    All of these costumes can be purchased at Neatoshop.com


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    Licensed video games have been around for as long as video games themselves have been around. There is scarcely a movie franchise without at least a video game or two to go with it. Retro gaming blong VGJunk decided to play the "What If?" game and put together some some title screens for licensed 8-bit Nintendo games that are not real - but should be. Again, these are not real, but I can bet you would want to play them all.

    For more awesome 8-bit fun, and VGJunk's outlines of what each game would entail, head over to the VGJunk blog


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    GAN1
     
    With less than one month to go before the grand opening of Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare, a new teaser video has just been unveiled for the epic music and horror event. Check it out here!
     
     
    The insanity begins at 6:30 pm on Thursday, October 10th at the L.A. County FEARplex in Pomona, CA, and runs every Thursday-Sunday in October, concluding with a climactic live performance by Rob Zombie and his band on Saturday, November 2nd. More details, including the full schedule and ticket ordering info, are available at their official site, and you can also see the full lineup of participating bands in our earlier announcement here.
     
    GAN_Battle
     
    In related music news, we're down to the final days for entries in the Great American Nightmare Battle of the Bands, in which unsigned acts can compete for a spot on the Monster Energy Main Stage during the event. The finalists will go on to perform in groups of five at the weekly battles until a victor is chosen. Go here for full contest details (via the contest co-sponsor, the Slidebar in Fullerton, CA), but do it fast, because the window for entries closes this Friday!

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    Yesterday we posted an in-depth study on why people are so damn afraid of clowns... and if we'd seen this video earlier, we could have used it as a perfect example.
     
    Queen1
     
    The “Dancing Queen” routine, by veteran performer The Amazing Christopher (who has done similar skits on hundreds of comedy and variety shows), was featured during an intermission for Evil Dead: The Musical at the V Theater in Las Vegas, and it probably terrified audiences more than the deadite mayhem that came before it. It's set to a medley of reworked tunes – including the title ABBA song, Michael Jackson, the Bee Gees and even “Gangnam Style.” The demo clip has now become a viral sensation, and thousands of people now have fresh new nightmare fuel.
     
     
    The act is a variation on a vintage puppetry technique, but its horrifying potential has never been so perfectly captured as in this nightmarish clip. Here's the live version!
     

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    'The (original) Wicker Man' is one of those horror cult classic movies that requires revisiting every couple of years. And thankfully, just as I was thinking of breaking out my Anchor Bay wooden box special edition, the announcement of this new "final cut" is upon us! After an extensive search, the original director's cut containing footage long thought to be lost has been recovered and re-installed just in time for this digital restoration for the 40th anniversary. Below, we've got the new poster, trailer and press release for 'The Wicker Man - Final Cut'! Check 'em out!

    The Wicker Man - Final Cut

    Opening Friday, September 27 at IFC Center in NY, Nuart in LA, and national release to follow.

    THE WICKER MAN—FINAL CUT, the definitive version of Robin Hardy’s thriller of pagan worshippers on a remote Scottish isle, opens in a new director-approved DCP restoration for a special 40th-anniversary engagement starting Friday, September 27 at IFC Center. Seen for decades only in mutilated copies, the new restoration is the culmination of a long search (conducted via Facebook) for the complete director's cut. A national roll-out from Rialto Pictures follows.

    After receiving an anonymous letter about a missing 12-year-old girl, devoutly Christian cop Edward Woodward travels by seaplane to a remote Scottish island to investigate. But the islanders welcome neither his badge nor religious devotion, for laird of the isle Christopher Lee and his devoted followers worship only the pagan gods of old - and those gods demand a sacrifice. Woodward fears for the missing girl's life and follows every possible lead to find her—despite the islanders' interference—before she becomes a human sacrificial lamb.

    Starring Edward Woodward (Breaker Morant, TV's The Equalizer), horror film legend Christopher Lee, stalwart Hammer vampiress Ingrid Pitt, and Swedish blonde bombshell/Bond Girl Britt Ekland (Man With The Golden Gun, After The Fox, Get Carter), WICKER MAN is a quintessential 70s thriller, with the search for its full version one of cinema history's classic detective hunts.

    Butchered by its doomed UK distributor to fit on double bills, with its original camera negative apparently lost, THE WICKER MAN has gathered a devoted fan base over the past four decades. Some missing scenes were recovered from an obsolete one-inch broadcast tape, but over the years there were rumors of complete 35mm prints floating around.

    Earlier this year, the search intensified when worldwide rights holder Studiocanal initiated a Facebook campaign to recover the missing 35mm material, resulting in the discovery of a 92-minute 35mm release print at the Harvard Film Archive. This print was scanned and sent to London, where it was recently inspected by director Robin Hardy, who confirmed that it was the same cut he had put together for its American distributor in 1979, years after the film’s UK bow. This culminated in a digital restoration of the complete U.S. theatrical version, which director Hardy recently anointed as "the final cut." Hardy, now 83, has said of this restored version, “It fulfills my vision.”

     


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    Smothered_title
     
    Writer/director John R. Schneider conceived the horror meta-comedy Smothered as an inversion on the classic slasher trope: instead of depicting nubile ladies being pursued by monstrous, masked killers, he totally flips the script, depicting a psychotic young woman taking up the axe to prey on those movie boogeymen.
     
    Smothered_cast
     
    The film features a gallery of beloved genre names – including Kane Hodder, famed Jason Voorhees portrayer as well as Hatchet's Victor Crowley; R.A. Milhailoff, who took on the role of Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; Bill Moseley, best known as “Chop-Top” from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Otis in The Devil’s Rejects; and Brea Grant of Dexter and Rob Zombie's Halloween II. Even the '57 Plymouth Fury from Stephen King's Christine makes an appearance!
     
    “These are the real actors playing themselves for the most part, and that’s an element no one has explored before,” says Schneider, whom classic TV fans may remember as Bo Duke from the series The Dukes of Hazzard. His company Fairlight Films backed Smothered, which is now in post-production with an eye on release late this year.
     

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    It's the oldest story in the book: a group of friends get in trouble with the internet. In this case, it is six friends, and they make viral "Truth or Dare" videos - until their "number one fan" decides he wants to play and the bodies start piling up. This is the story behind Truth or Dare, the directorial debut from actress Jessica Cameron (Silent Night, Hell-O-Ween, Camel Spiders). The film will get its world premiere at the Arizona Underground Film Festival this Friday the 13th.

    In this exclusive still from the set, Jessica is working with one of her actors, Ryan Kiser, on a "particularly intense scene."

    For more info on the film, and where you can see it playing, visit TruthorDaretheMovie.com


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    The South American rainforest is home to a wide variety of dangerous species, and this many-legged monstrosity is one of the meanest and most dangerous. The Peruvian giant centipede, who goes by the awesome scientific name Scolopendra gigantea, is the largest creature of its kind ever found. While most garden-variety centipedes are only a few inches long, this dude can grow up to two and a half feet.
     
    Centipede2
    Scolopendra gigantea is also extremely venomous: his front claws are lightning-fast and powerful, and loaded with a neurotoxin that kills just about any small or medium-sized animal... including bats, which he can pluck straight out of the air by hanging from the roof of bat-populated caves. While the venom is usually non-lethal to adult humans, its bite is one of the most painful ever reported – basically the equivalent of being stung by a two-foot-long wasp.
     
    Centipede3
    Even larger centipede species could potentially exist in the rainforest regions, as they share a common ancestor in Arthropleura, a prehistoric mega-centipede (Roger Corman, if you're reading this, give me a call) that according to fossil records grew up to eight feet long. That big granddaddy died out around 300 million years ago, but there may be surviving descendants larger than than those found so far. Animal Planet made this idea as the basis for an episode of their mockumentary monster series Lost Tapes, entitled “The Death Crawler.”
     
    Not creeped out enough yet? Then try watching this footage from National Geographic of Scolopendra 
    in action... but be warned, it's not gonna be pretty.
     

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