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Friday, May 23, 2014

Texas Thriller “Shattered” In Production


The Texas indie thriller “Shattered” will begin filming in mid June. The film is being produced by Mikel Ledesma’s Twisted L Films with New Hope Pictures. Ledesma will be directing. “Shattered” tells the story of a woman who comes face to face with her daughter’s attacker, a man who raped and killed the 8 year old.

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Anthony Gutierrez has signed on as Director of Photography with Scarlette Martin and Matthew Roy cast in the roles of Rose Sterling and Tom Collins respectively. The Facebook page and IMDb link are already up and running with details being updated daily so check those out. I spoke with Mikel about this project and other works planned for Twisted L Films earlier in the month. Hit this link to read that interview

My Review Of “Killer Holiday”


1“Killer Holiday” takes classic horror into true crime territory. Not that this film is based on any real life events but the premise does sort of reoccur on those true crime channels quite a bit. The film is directed by Marty Thomas and stars a hot cast. Michael Copon, Marty Thomas, Alex Mandel, Rachel Lara, Randolph Mantooth, Julia Beth Stern, David Namminga, Rachel Wixom,Matt Calloway, Rich Hoag, Noah Gibbings, Sydney Rae Shalhoob, Gabriel Olivera, Jon Zuber, Terry T. Miller all star in this visceral nightmare. The plot has a group of friends heading out for a vacation with a psycho killer following close behind.

The story is as straight forward as they come with friends on a trip falling victim to the brutality of a serial killer. There is a twist at the end but you kind of see it coming two scenes prior so the impact isn’t as strong. Still the story is classic and fun. It does have the burden of stereotypical set-ups and banter dragging it down somewhat but the fact that it isn’t a supernatural force of evil slaughtering the youths makes the film a bit darker. This aspect actual helps the story feel more intense with zero “intentional” cheesiness. The characters are a bit cliché but most horror films have that flaw that can create a small amount of cheese.

“Killer Holiday” does bring some pretty cool actors together that look camera ready. The acting isn’t stellar but the cast all give pretty decent performances with a few standing out more, notably the psycho. This one made me a bit conflicted. It is very seldom I enjoy finding a killer so hot that I define them as “fuckable”, I prefer to not really relate to killers in cinema, I never was one for celebrating psycho characters that are too close to “reality”. Of course I never thought the classic masked killers were fuckable so it isn’t often I face this dilemma. Even with the acting being above grade there is a weird disconnect with the actors’ portrayal of these characters, almost as if they feel two dimensional or lake in depth. Actually the whole film of the drama and dialog feels somewhat disconnected from the story tries to create on screen.

The special effects and soundtrack in “Killer Holiday” is the expected caveat of melodrama and death rattles set to some creepy, chilling instrumentals and sound effects. All of which work great in the movie. Even though it is more of a serial killer situation as opposed to the supernatural, unstoppable monster, the death scenes are just as memorable, bloody and creative. The only thing that holds this back from being stellar is that odd, almost Eurocentric disconnect between what is written and what is acted out. By that I mean it has that strange feel of pretending to be an American slasher instead of actually feeling like an American slasher. If that makes since. Still with the things that bothered me about “Killer Holiday” , the film is a pretty good horror film with plenty of blood and gore for the traditional horror fan. Plus it has a pretty stand-out killer, and nice, all be it expected, ending. A definite once over for any horror fan.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Review Of “Chastity Bites”


1John V. Knowles’ “Chastity Bites” is a horror comedy that takes the classic 80’s idea of fun-time slasher delights. Then mixes that with a fascination for vintage, supernatural idolatry, and upbeat, comedy-camp satire. The film stars Allison Scagliotti, Francia Raisa, Louise Griffiths, Eddy Rioseco, Amy Okuda, Jennifer Gimenez.. “Chastity Bites” is Knowles’ directorial debut and my only thought is “why in the hell did it take this long?!”. The style, feel, and look of the film is that of a seasoned director whose work is effortlessly executed.

“Chastity Bites” follows a group of high school students both frienemies and foes, challenged with the typical social hurdles and proclivities, facing a darker sinister force out to build them up just to tear them down-Lady Bathory. Liz Bathor is on an unholy mission to see that the young ladies of the local high school stay pure and chaste. It is a clever story that is energetic, quick witted and funny. The humor is both straight forward cheese ball humor blended with the darker satirical cultural quips that aren’t as “surface”. It is one of the few films that I have seen in a long while that fully completes the story arch fully with the same intensity and conviction from start to finish.

The acting is something that pleasantly surprised me, going into the film I was expecting some fumbling by the actors on the dialog and character interaction and elements meant to create a relatable foundation between the actor and audience. At times it seems those fears were to be met but in almost every scene the cast manages to keep the comedic timing without falling flat, and for the depth of dialog, pop culture referencing and repartee this film carries, it isn’t an easy feat for Indie films to pull off. “Chastity Bites” is a modern classic that gives good 80’s homage without coming off as cheap or forced.

The special effects and soundtrack are timeless and entertaining. The effects remind me of classic 80’s horror techniques that never fade, offering good, visual kill scenes, with very minimal CGI. The fact that the film stays closer to the darker side the horror comedy than “spoof” films helps make “Chastity Bites” a film that will be enjoyable time and time again. Plus you can’t get a better character than Elizabeth Bathory when dealing with virginity and eternal youth while poking fun at social obsessions and cultural hypocrisies. The soundtrack, both musical and sound effects, create a fun, energy that never holds the film back or feels out of step with Knowles intentions. I really enjoyed this film and think all horror/comedy fans and slasher fans alike should check it out!

Goodbyes Suck Poster For ‘True Blood’

Ah goodbyes do indeed suck! Just as this promo poster for the final season of ‘True Blood’ suggests. I hate to see it go but I guess all good and bloody things come to an end. Season 7 kicks off June 22nd.

true_blood_s7_poster

IFC Midnight Releases New Poster For “Witching & Bitching”

Check out the new poster IFC Midnight released for the VOD June 13th premiere of “Witching & Bitching”. The film is directed by Alex de la Iglesia, and spins a satirical tale of the battle of the sexes, plus marital discourse in a supernatural horror comedy from Spain and France. It is a film that gained a lot of praise from the horror community while on the festival circuit and one that I am excited to check out.

1When a bank heist in the city doesn’t all go according to plan, José and Tony find themselves in possession of some hostages and speeding through the mountains of Spain, hoping to quietly slip over the border. Not wanting to give up his custody days to his ex-wife, José has also brought his son along, for both the robbery and the ride. Little do they know that this is only the beginning of their troubles.

When they decide to make a stop in a small tavern in the Basque countryside, the group encounters a series of local wackos. Falling victim to a mysterious spell, they soon find themselves the honored guests of a fractured family of witches who are preparing for an ancient ritual. More colorful characters begin to enter the picture, including a pair of hapless cops hot on the trail, a defecting vixen witch and José’s controlling ex-wife, and the situation spirals further out of control, heading towards a jaw-dropping climax.



Details For Blu-ray/DVD Release Of “Phantom Of The Paradise” From Scream Factory


1Check out the deets for the upcoming Blu-ray/DVD release of “Phantom Of The Paradise” from Scream Factory. The copy comes with some pretty wicked artwork which will also be available to limited buyers as a 18”x24” poster. “Phantom Of The Paradise” is directed by Brian DePalma and stars Paul Williams, William Finley, Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham, George Memmoli, Archie Hahn, Jeffrey Comanor. The disc will be on shelves August 5th 2014.

Rock opera version of The Phantom of the Opera which also serves as a dark satire of the music business. Notorious record tycoon Swan has sold his soul to the devil for eternal youth and success - 20 years ago. Swan's current scheme is to steal the music from meek composer Winslow Leach to celebrate the opening of his rock palace, The Paradise. While trying to stop Swan, Leach becomes the victim of a freak accident that leaves him horribly disfigured. He takes refuge in the cavernous Paradise, hiding his mangled face beneath an eerie mask and planning gruesome vengeance upon Swan - and everyone else who has hurt him.

Special Features:
DISC ONE (BLU-RAY):
  • NEW Audio Commentary with Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham and the Juicy Fruits (Archie Hahn, Jeffrey Comanor and Harold Oblong aka Peter Eibling)
  • NEW Audio Commentary with Production Designer Jack Fisk
  • NEW Interview with director Brian DePalma
  • NEW Interview with Paul Williams talking about the music of PHANTOM
  • NEW Interview with Make-up Effects wizard Tom Burman discussing the Phantom Helmet
DISC TWO (DVD):
  • Paradise Regained – documentary on the making of the film featuring director Brian DePalma, Producer Edward R. Pressman, William Finley, Paul Williams, Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham and more…
  • Interview with Paul Williams moderated by Guillermo Del Toro
  • Interview with costume designer Rosanna Norton
  • NEW Interview with producer Edward R. Pressman
  • NEW Interview with drummer Gary Mallaber
  • NEW Alvin’s Art and Technique – a look at the neon poster
  • NEW Phantom of the Paradise Biography by Gerrit Graham – 1974 Publicity Sheet written by and read by Graham
  • Alternate Takes
  • Swan Song Outtake Footage
  • Radio Spots
  • TV Spots
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery


Teaser Trailer Released For “The Bonesetter”


bonsetter-posterPress Release:
Director Brett Kelly (My Fair Zombie) is hard at work on pre-production for his latest horror film THE BONESETTER. The Bonesetter is the tale of a town with a dark secret. A century ago a traveling healer was lynched for killing the town’s children, and now, in the present, the current generation of townsfolk are faced with the supernatural return of the murderous Bonesetter.

If this sounds somewhat familiar, it’s because Kelly originally made a version of The Bonesetter in 2002 and a sequel in 2005, both of which found their way to DVD. In revisiting the tale, Kelly says; “I was never able to tell the story in the scary way I really wanted to back when I first started in this biz.” He continues, “I made the original Bonesetter early in my career and now the tools of production, post-production and my own experience have finally given me what I need to truly scare the pants off of an audience. My previous films have all had elements of tongue-in-cheek to them. Not this new Bonesetter; I want people frightened and disturbed.”

Kelly adds, “I should mention also that the script of this movie is completely new and is not the same movie as my originals. It’s a new take.”

The Bonesetter is based on a folk tale from Quebec (known in French as Bonehomme Sept-Heures). While technically in pre-production, Kelly and his crew have already filmed the opening scene of the movie. This scene is set in the past when the titular villain of the film was still alive and committing his murderous crimes upon the unsuspecting populace.

Production of the film will resume in the fall once Kelly has completed filming a western for Lionsgate.

         

 
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My Review Of ‘The Banshee Chapter”


1“The Banshee Chapter” is a blend of found footage, and tradition filming styles that create a smooth, creepy visual horror story. The film is directed by Blair Erickson and stars Katia Winter, Ted Levine, Michael McMillian, Jenny Gabrielle, William Sterchi, Alex Gianopoulos in mad science tale that is part urban legend, part Lovecraftian, centering around a journalist seeking answers to the disappearance of her college friend after an experiment goes terribly wrong.

The story in “The Banshee Chapter” creates an almost instantly captivating tale around urban legends that arose after it was made public of the black ops experiments the Government implemented on citizens during the 60’s and 70’s using LSD. That is a conspiracy lore ideology that I find myself trolling the internet reading. This element weaves eerily effortlessly into the Lovecraft world of horror, particularly the story surrounding the scientist that creates an antenna that becomes a gateway between worlds ultimately allowing both sides to move between. “The Banshee Chapter” pushes out a dark, nightmare that stays serious, flows nicely, and maintains a chilling atmosphere from start to finish without becoming boring.

The acting in this film is pretty stellar, not too melodramatic or forced but so polished that it just seems over-rehearsed. The transitions between the found footage scenes and the standard third person point-of-view are balanced and move smoothly without the effects being made into some big production. By which I mean the scenes move in and out without seeming pointless or just “stuck in” the film with no purpose other than to cash in on the “footage” craze. “The Banshee Chapter” takes the two styles and mixes them with ease which makes the film suspenseful and chilling. The direction and character development felt authentic and created an actual connection between me and the story, something that often times falls to the wayside in “found footage” driven films.

The special effects and soundtrack in “The Banshee Chapter” both work nicely in creating a chilling, and entertaining atmosphere with moments that are gripping, and intense while feeling creepy as heck. The special effects are the usual gimmicks and tricks to create shock moments and suspense but the director maintains control of the elements so nothing looks cheap or pointless, or more importantly lacking in fright. I jumped several times while watching this movie. The soundtrack and sound effects create an overture to the creepy atmosphere that the acting and story develops, really pulling me into the complete story. Mostly instrumental with some vocal effects, the soundtrack is both timeless and powerful. “The Banshee Chapter” is a fun, fright-filled, horror story that I found to be true to the genre without seeming hokey. 

“The Midnight Game” Due Out On DVD This Summer


2Supernatural horror film ‘The Midnight Game” is due out on August 21st on DVD. The film is directed by A.D. Calvo and stars Renee Olstead, Shelby Young, Guy Wilson, Valentina de Angelis, Spencer Daniels, Robert Romanus, Deborah Twiss. Check out the trailer that came out at the beginning of the month.

After playing a pagan ritual on a dare, a group of high school students find themselves trapped in an endless cycle of their worst fears.










Trailer Released For Post-Apocalyptic Thriller “The Well”


2Check out the trailer for the post-apocalyptic thriller “The Well”. The film is directed by Thomas Hammock and stars Haley Lu Richardson, BooBoo Stewart, Jon Gries, Michael Welch, Barbara Crampton, Max Charles, Nicole Fox, Michael Massee, Jacqueline Emerson. “The Well” is set to debut at LA Film Fest on June 12th.

The bastard child of MAD MAX and A FISTFULL OF DOLLARS, THE WELL is a post-apocalyptic thriller set in the very near future. Fresh water, our most valuable commodity, has run out and society has collapsed. In a drought-stricken, Oregon valley, a greedy water baron, like so many railroad & cattle barons of yesteryear, is determined to clear out every survivor -- even by the most violent means. Only our heroine Kendal, a brave 17 year-old grown far beyond her years, stands in the way of this villain and the evil water company that supports him. This harrowing story is built of action, suspense and compassion for one girl’s gritty determination to fight for what’s right, no matter the cost.



“The Mummy: Resurrected” Release Date


1A July 1st release date has been set for the DVD release of “The Mummy: Resurrected” . The film is directed by Patrick McManus and stars Stuart Rigby, Lauren Bronleewe, Bailey Gaddis, Sarah Schrieber. “The Mummy: Resurrected” takes the story back to the original tale from classic horror and has no relation to the films made famous by Brendan Fraser.

A group of archaeologists uncover a long lost pyramid in the middle of the Egyptian desert. Believing the pyramid to be full of ancient treasures, the group decides to explore. Little do they know that their actions are about to awaken an ancient evil.







Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Trailer For Benedict Mart’s “Siren Song”


1The official trailer has been released for Benedict Mart’s “Siren Song”. The film stars C. Thomas Howell, Matt Silver, Rikke Leigh, Eloise Oliver, Helen Rule, Nigel Billing, Marcus Harris, Laura Edghill and Rory Wilton. “Siren Song” is expecting a November release.

“Siren Song” focuses on two friends, one of whom pursues a relationship with a mysterious woman who part owns a guest house and who he has been dating online. Problems occur when guests at the isolated guest house begin to disappear and the guys discover the truth about the woman and her monstrous sisters and how they must escape from a mysterious island if they want to survive beyond dawn.







FILM KNIGHTS Siren Song Trailer from Team Siren Song on Vimeo.

Trailer Released For Danish Horror “Når Dyrene Drømmer/When Animals Dream”


1Check out the trailer for Danish horror mystery “Når Dyrene Drømmer/When Animals Dream”. The film is directed by Jonas Arnby and stars Lars Mikkelsen, Sonia Suhl, Sonja Richter, Jakob Oftebro. It will release in Denmark on July 31st, 2014.

19-year-old loner, Marie, lives alone with his parents in a small secluded community near the sea. She has no friends, in addition to the young Daniel, who is fascinated by her wild nature. When Marie discovers strange changes in her body, she begins to search for answers, which may be linked to her family's past that no one wants to talk about. Her father tries to keep her safe from the villagers' eyes, but the animal in Marie can not be tamed. Her search for the truth sends her on a collision course with everyone around him - except Daniel, who will follow her to the ends.




V-Wars Horror Comic To Be Adapted For TV


V-Wars-cover-2Press Release
IDW Entertainment and Entertainment One Television (eOne Television) announced today that V-Wars will be the first series project developed under the recently announced first-look co-production agreement.

Three-time Emmy® Award nominee Tim Schlattmann (Dexter, Smallville) has been tapped to write the pilot, and will serve as an executive producer on the series. Ted Adams and David Ozer from IDW Entertainment, John Morayniss and Benedict Carver from eOne Television, and David Alpert and Rick Jacobs from Circle of Confusion (The Walking Dead) will also executive produce.

V-Wars is being developed as direct-to-series and is based on the acclaimed IDW Publishing property written by New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award®-winning author Jonathan Maberry.
“This is a story that takes everything the audience thinks they know about vampires and throws it out the window. They’re not the undead. They’re us.” said Schlattman.

V-Wars is set in a world transformed by a catastrophic environmental event that releases a millennial-old virus that once triggered, affects individuals differently depending on their DNA. The result is vampires as unique as their cultures and a response from those unaffected humans like never seen before.

“V-Wars is a head-on collision of real-world science, terrorism, special forces action, ethics, politics and an exploration of what defines us as human,” said Maberry.

“Tim brings an incredible vision for V-Wars,” said Ozer, IDW Entertainment President, “The series sets an exciting tone for our first project launched with Entertainment One and will resonate throughout the global television market.”

“V-Wars is the perfect project to kick off our partnership with IDW Entertainment, and lays the groundwork for a slate of ambitious projects to come,” said Morayniss, Chief Executive Officer, eOne Television. “We are thrilled to have attracted such a huge talent as Tim to bring this gritty post-apocalyptic world to life.”

V-Wars debuted as a collection of prose stories that chronicles the first Vampire War, and a second volume is scheduled for release this July. IDW Publishing also launched an ongoing monthly V-Wars comic book series in May. The first issue was critically acclaimed and is already headed to a second printing.








My Review Of “Faraway” 2012


1“Faraway” is an adventure film from director Randal Kamradt that follows a young girl’s journey through the Philippine countryside to find the truth behind the Diwata legend, a group of mythical nymphs that govern the lives of man by writing fated stories of man’s lives. “Faraway” stars  Dana Jamison, Nick Medina, Genelyka Castin, Leonard Olaer, Vivencio E. Mataganas, Gabriel Enriquez, Maria Olsen, Rachel Appelbaum and Guillermo Jorge.

In the film both the myth of the Diwata and the journey of the characters are mirrored and feel much like a Shakespearian play. blending fairytale with real world misadventure. “Faraway” creates a mid-grade drama with some dark edgier moments mixed with lighter, comedic moments. Often the story seems to force the the Diwata aspects into the groups story in a way that doesn’t flow naturally but for the most part “Faraway” offers an entertaining and heartfelt tale of self discovery and adventure.

The acting is about 50/50 with no character seeming to shine perfectly on screen and the discrepancy is very random. Some characters seem a bit more committed to their part while others come off more over-rehearsed. It doesn’t make the film hard to watch since no one actor fails completely and all offer convincing enough characters. The dialog and dramatic interaction at times feels contrived but for Indie cinema, especially as a blended nationality-foreign film set-up, this doesn’t really make much difference as to make the story difficult to enjoy. Overall the performances and atmosphere is acceptable and there are some moments that really shine.

The soundtrack and effects are more dramatically developed with mild, light action accompanied by standard instrumental sounds. The music flows well with the acting and story which draws you into the character driven drama as well as the more intense active moments. Some of the stunts and action do seem a bit exercised cautiously with little flare much like a family adventure film on a low budget scale. This doesn’t hurt nor help the entertainment value, I only mention it so that no one planning to watch “Faraway” expects big budget dramatics and feels let down. The film gives a nice, light-hearted, fun experience that is somewhat family friendly in a PG-13(?) sort of way. Plus the scenery, due to the exotic locations is a visual bonus to the film.

DVD/Blu-ray Release Set For “Devil’s Knot”


1Press Release:
Image Entertainment, an RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE) brand, brings you Devil’s Knot, available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download on June 10, 2014. 
Based on the true story of the West Memphis Three, the film is directed by Academy Award Nominated Director Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter) and stars Academy Award Winners Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) and Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line) as well as Academy Award Nominee Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), Golden Globe Nominee Mireille Enos (AMC’s “The Killing”) and Stephen Moyer (HBO’s “True Blood”).

May 5, 1993. West Memphis, Arkansas. Three young boys playing in the nearby woods never come home for dinner. In the rush to find and convict the killers, police focus on a trio of teenagers suspected of devil worship. 

As the mother of one of the murdered boys (Witherspoon) tries to come to grips with this unspeakable tragedy, she is desperate to believe that the killers have been found and will be brought to justice. It is only when an investigator (Firth) reveals that the evidence doesn’t all add up, that the community is forced to face the reality that the true killer might still be out there.

Special Features:
  • The Making of Devil’s Knot
  • Getting into Character: The Cast of Devil’s Knot
  • Deleted Scenes



Danielle Vega’s The Merciless To Be Adapted Into A Feature Film


Deadline is reporting that Danielle Vega’s The Merciless is being adapted into a feature film by Lionsgate. The book will be released June 20th and is up for pre-order on Amazon.

1Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.

Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.

Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .

In this chilling debut, Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?

Trailer Released For “Apparition Of Evil”


Apparition of Evil bApparition of Evil” is a paranormal portmanteau following researcher Emilie Price, played by the talented British actress Kate Marie Davies, who stumbles across a collection of disturbing video evidence she has obtained from the sleazy video archivist Alton, played by Keiron Hollett. The three films that Emilie watches are all set in different countries, America, Australia and England, yet they are interlinked somehow and as she watches, Emilie slowly discovers the connections between not only the people in the videos but herself.

Check out the official trailer for this upcoming horror from World Wide Multi Media, directed by Brel Offkel. “Apparition Of Evil” stars Nathan Head, Kate Marie Davies, Suzi Lorraine, Keiron Hollett, Cain Harrip, Melissa Hollett, Dion Cavallaro, Dayna Shuffle, Paul Sutton, and Shannon Curran. The film is already being hailed as “The latest instalment in British terror cinema” and "The Amityville Horror meets [Rec]". Also check out the stills released for the film.

                    

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Sneak Peek Look At “Christmas At Dracula’s”


1Christmas At Dracula’s” is an Indie horror/comedy from director Simon Mckeon. Check out the noir-esque, classically thrilling sneak peek at the film below. The prologue scene looks amazing on this film that blends classic horror with a dark satirical story for Holidays to come!

Told through the eyes of The Invisible Man, Count Dracula has hit rock bottom, so with the help of his noble companion Igor, he decides to throw the greatest Christmas party of all time. He invites to this - The Wolfman, Medusa, The Wicked Witch, Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll and The Invisible Man. But when two killers arrive at the door, things slowly begin to spiral out of control. And Dracula's faith lies in the hands of one creature...death himself!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Agonalia

agonalia
An Agonalia or Agonia was an obscure archaic religious observance celebrated in ancient Rome several times a year, in honor of various divinities. Its institution, like that of other religious rites and ceremonies, was attributed to Numa Pompilius, the semi-legendary second king of Rome. Ancient calendars indicate that it was celebrated regularly on January 9, May 21, and December 11.


The object of this festival was a disputed point among the ancients themselves, but as J.A. Hartung observed, the offering was a ram (aries), the usual victim sacrificed to the guardian gods of the state; the presiding priest was the rex sacrificulus, and the site was the Regia, both of which could be employed only for ceremonies connected with the highest gods that affected the well-being of the whole state.  

317-458, Ovid lists six possible etymologies for the Agonalia, according to Frazel ("Ovid 'Fasti' 1.325-26, and 'Lamb Festivals,'" by Thomas D. Frazel; Classical Philology , Vol. 97, No. 1 (Jan., 2002), pp. 88-92)
1. The day may take its name from the girded priest At whose blow the god's sacrifice is felled:
Always, before he stains the naked blade with hot blood,
He asks if he should (agatne), and won't unless commanded.

2. Some believe that the day is called Agonal because
The sheep do not come to the altar but are driven (agantur).

3. Others think the ancients called this festival Agnalia,
'Of the lambs', dropping a letter from its usual place.

4. Or because the victim fears the knife mirrored in the water,
The day might be so called from the creature's agony?

5. It may also be that the day has a Greek name
From the games (agones) that were held in former times.

6. And in ancient speech agonia meant a sheep,
And this last reason in my judgement is the truth.

Translation provided by A.S. Kline: Ovid Fasti Book I








Creepersin Announces Season 2 Of Black Star Canyon


1I am on episode four of season one of Black Star Canyon, which is turning out to be as intense as any live action horror drama. Now I know I have to get my ass in gear because Creep Creepersin has announced that season 2 of Black Star Canyon will kick off June 1st! There will be a kick off event over on the book’s Facebook Page so check that out and if you haven’t read season one yet-get on it people!

When the mayor of Black Star Canyon, Jonathan Kensington, finds a body of a young woman in the woods, it starts a chain of events that threatens everyone in Black Star Canyon and the future of the town itself.

Detectives Lukas and Chaney can’t seem to unravel the mystery fast enough as more towns people continue to be killed, go missing or end up injured.

With the help of old Sheriff Reagan and Deputy Sue Callahan, Lukas and Chaney find that these crimes are not only turning the town upside down, but also revealing the secrets of it’s inhabitants. Secrets that most townspeople would do anything to keep hidden.

If you liked Twin Peaks, Northern Exposure, American Gothic, Lost or Life on Mars, you will LOVE Black Star Canyon!

International Trailer For ‘House Of Shadows”


1Check out the international trailer for upcoming supernatural thriller  “House Of Shadows” . The film is directed by Rossella de Venuto and stars Fiona Glascott, Pietro Ragusa, Federico Castelluccio, Marcello Prayer.

Megan and Leo travel to Southern Italy to settle the will of Leo’s uncle, Monsignor Domenico, a powerful Catholic priest famed for miracles who has left Leo the ancient family house. Leo intends to sell it to his brother Nicola, the town’s priest, but rediscovers his love for the town and old friends. Megan too is enchanted by the place. They decide to stay.

Initially captivated by Leo’s ancient family palazzo, during the hot midday Megan stays at home, and is increasingly disturbed by mysterious events. Discovering clues to an unsolved mystery in Leo’s family history, which he refuses to discuss, Megan faces a terrifying life and death struggle against powerful forces intent on keeping the truth hidden at all costs.

Trailer Released For Spanish Slasher “Ferro”


1The official trailer has come out for Spanish slasher horror “Ferror (The Iron Murderer)”. The film has a psychopathic maniac, With a lot of horror attention focusing on the undead and other torture styled concepts it it refreshing to see the slasher killer still very much thriving. “Ferro” comes from Spanish indie film company Espantapajaros Films. There is no release date yet but I am sure that it won’t be long before we here more from this film.

Directed by Mani Guerrero and starring Francisco Sevilla, Enrique Martín, Borja Conesa and Cristina Bernal.

“Ferro” follows a psychopath killer who tortures and inflicts suffering upon the wealthy establishment. He sets out to punish inscrutably the elitist arrogance of the wealthy with brutality, as they become his prey.

“Afflicted” Spreads Terror On Blu-ray, DVD & Digital July


afflictedPress Release:
The award-winning, critically acclaimed horror thriller AFFLICTED spreads terror on Blu-ray™, DVD & Digital July 1, courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. AFFLICTED tells the chilling tale of two best friends whose documented journey around the world takes a horrifying turn after an encounter with a beautiful woman in Paris leaves one of them mysteriously afflicted. Written, directed and co-starring breakthrough filmmaking duo Derek Lee and Clif Prowse, this excitingly original entry in the found-footage horror genre took home awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay (Horror Feature category) at the 2013 FantasticFest, in addition to awards of recognition at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

Bonus features on both the Blu-ray and DVD include never-before-seen deleted scenes, as well as two fascinating featurettes. “Afflicted: Behind the Scenes” takes fans on set for an inside look at the making of this new found-footage horror favorite, and “Anatomy of a Scene: The Window Jump” features filmmakers on how they utilized a creative mix of practical stunt work and visual effects to pull off one of the film’s more jaw-dropping action sequences.

AFFLICTED was produced by Chris Ferguson and Zach Lipovsky. Executive producers are Jason Dowdeswell, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Stuart Ford, and Zak Pashak.

The film has a run time of about 85 minutes and has been rated R for disturbing, bloody violence and language.

Special Features:
  • Afflicted: Behind the Scenes
  • Anatomy of a Scene: The Window Jump
  • Deleted Scenes





Epic Pictures Group Brings Us “Another”


Another-PosterEpic Pictures Group has acquired the international distribution rights for the supernatural horror film “Another”. The demonic thriller is directed by Jason Bognacki and stars David Landry, Maria Olsen, Nancy Wolfe,  Paulie Rojas. There is no release date yet but the film will be on the festival circuit this year.

Nine friends take a holiday at a Victorian home on a private island and uncover a game that when played brings out the worst in each of them. Jealously, greed, hatred, lust, all of the things they keep buried deep inside themselves rise to the surface and come to a boil.









‘Hemlock Grove’ Returns This Summer


1The Netflix horror series ‘Hemlock Grove’ returns this summer on July 11th. The series stars Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård, Landon Liboiron, Dougray Scott, Madeline Brewer, Madeleine Martin,  Joel de la Fuente, and Tiio Horn. Season two continues with the town coming to grips with the shocking massacre incurred by one of its deadliest creatures. Roman and Peter are now faced with new responsibilities and the realities that come with adulthood. Roman’s relationship with his mother (Janssen) is all but dead as he struggles with his unwanted Upir birthright and the disappearance of his sister, Shelley (Martin).

Peter moves in with Destiny (Horn) and is forced to get a job after his mother is sent away. Meanwhile, in search of a new life, newcomer Miranda Cates (Madeline Brewer), embarks on Hemlock Grove with an unknowingly profound effect on Peter and Roman. And Norman (Scott), still reeling from the loss of his family, must face the harsh truths that are uncovered about those he still loves

My Review Of “I’ll Follow You Down”


1Richie Mehta’s sci-fi/drama “I’ll Follow You Down” stars Gillian Anderson, Haley Joel Osment, Rufus Sewell, Victor Garber and Susanna Fournier in a slow, steady melodrama that revolves around a family’s agony after the mysterious disappearance of the patriarchal character Gabe, a young physicist researching wormhole theory and time travel. Years later son Erol discovers that there may be a chance to chance history and restore the timeline if he can find his father out of finishing the research.

The story in “I’ll Follow You Down” deals with a lot of science material tied together through emotional character study but you don’t have to be a smarty to follow along. Maybe to argue the laws of physics and such one would need to bone up on wormhole theories, quantum physics & mechanics but most people will be drawn in by the character drama that unfolds in the film. The cast is top notch and give moving performances with no overdrawn grandiosity, just straight forward compassionate well developed characters that really make the story enjoyable. The sci-fi or scientific theory aspect of “I’ll Follow You Down” is written more matter of fact and what I imagine would be elementary so a good foundation of “Star Trek” or other sci-fi knowledge really works well in that element of the material. I did phase out a bit over time line corrections without complicating things because that goes over my head,  but I still found everything relatable without being too wordy.

There is very little special effects in the film, most things boil down to a standard musical score that pulls at emotional elements of the film, there is a small practical effect and lighting effect against props to sell the “time machine” aspect that works just fine and without overstating the moment. “I’ll Follow You Down” is really a family drama that has some sci-fi attached to it but mostly it is a well directed, well acted and completely executed drama that is enjoyable to watch. I enjoyed the film, the cast was great. The story is sweat and Haley Joel Osment gives a commendable performance.

Monday, May 19, 2014

My Review Of "Blood Widow”


1Jeremiah Buckhalt’s “Blood Widow’ is a modern slasher with an ambitious story, an intimidating masked killer and a lot of gore. The indie film stars Danielle Lilley, Brandon Kyle Peters, Christopher de Padua, Jose Miguel Vasquez, Emily Cutting, Kelly Kilgore, Phillip Marunowski, and Gabrielle Henry, shot in Florida on a low budget and gives 100 % fun. “Blood Widow” introduces a new slasher that stalks a group of friends during and after a house warming party in the country.

The story of “Blood Widow” is pretty mediocre but the new killer it creates is as memorable as “Chromeskull”, a brutal, unapologetic force of unnatural death. A stereotypical group of friends meet a brutal end at the hands of a homicidal maniac in a mask is no new ground in horror but then again no one is wanting new ground, just new monsters and new bodies that hit the floor. “Blood Widow” gives us that. The acting is passable, with some proving better than others in bring the characters to life. The origin story and dialog in this film treads lightly with some spots fighting to hold true to the story but all that is forgiven in this slice ‘em and dice ‘em flick. The cast are believable enough, the action keeps your attention and the production is enough make the film watchable.

“Blood Widow” is a low budget but it doesn’t pretend not to be. Even with the lower budget Buckhalt still goes full steam into the kill scenes giving fans what they want-blood and gore and screams. Some deaths are not as memorable as others but this film gives good kills. The effects are noticeably cheap but fun to watch. The blood is plausible, the gore is face-forward and the kills are at times creative. The killer does seem a little too polished for the setting but given the backstory and implied origin tale that got the killer to this point in life you can accept the “polished” costume-y style “Blood Widow” takes in this film.

Still there are some issues in “Blood Widow”, the camera does hold on the cheaper effects a bit too long which could turn off more mainstream horror fans, the origin story is on the weaker side of horror mythos when comparing to other modern slasher icons, and some moments have less than stellar sound quality so be warned. Over all though, I found “Blood Widow”, fun, entertaining and dark with no camp or extreme cheese aspects aside from the unavoidable like cliché characters and screaming while fake blood is spraying everywhere. Check it out if you are an indie or low budget horror fan.

My Review Of “Torn: A Shock Youmentary”


1“Torn: A SHOCK YOUmentary” is a faux documentary from director Justin Carter that takes the lore of the British lore of werewolves in the countryside into the world of mockumentary/found footage storytelling. The film takes place in the Devon village of Orchardlea and stars Phil Baker, Charlotte Bird, Simon Burbage, Martin Challinor, Prudence Catley, Sam Burns,  Danny D'Anzieri and Kit Cox. “Torn” tells the story of a group of friends fighting against the belief that they are responsible for the death of one of their ilk after a vicious attack in the countryside. A documentary crew is hired to film the events leading up to the capture and kill of the creature they say killed one of their own, proving the friends innocence.

“Torn: A SHOCK YOUmentary” doesn’t really offer a new story or concept in this fake documentary but it does do one really cool thing, the film takes the creature horror of the werewolf back to the creepy countryside of jolly ol’ England, far from the pavement and sophistication of the urban lycanthrope.  Which automatically makes the story somehow seem more authentic. The beast roaming the English countryside leaving behind a wake of blood and death is timeless and classic. That is where this film centers at as a foundation. The actually character builds and story arc are less than clever, offering only a glimpse into this spooky rural world on edge as a killer runs about. Most of the film stays on the actually characters as they hunt for the beast, weaving in and out of melodrama and feign self-importance of dire situations. A lot of times in cinema when too much is implied then nothing is really implied at all. The focus on the groups situation as opposed to physical action and events to carry the moments wasn’t enough to convince me of the nightmare elements of “Torn”. Not like-say-“Blair Witch” or “Little Big Boy”.

The acting and visual concepts are met by director Justin Carter, with a lot the story almost reaching full momentum into real horror potential, there was just too much down time with unnecessary melodrama from the characters to pull off a full fledge horror situation. Mostly “Torn” is a lot of talking and very little action. I was bored through most of the film until the final act. There is a lot of dialog and situations throughout this film that seem forced or contrived which takes away from the thing being scary. “Torn” is a low budget project with some pretty nice moments and some decent acting but there was a lack of suspense or thrilling nature to the over all atmosphere that should have been there to keep me connected to the screen.

The effects and soundtrack for “Torn are both hit and miss with some moments coming off nicely while others fall flat. I am not big on spoiling a film so I am not going to call out any particular moments so that I don’t given anything away, lets just say that fake stuff shouldn’t look so fake if your gonna let the camera stay on it longer than the eye can blink. The blood worked well and the last act was intense enough which is a nice end to the mockumentary set-up. As far as the  sounds that play out in the film, I found them more off-putting than captivating. Some times the soundtrack just didn’t go with the story’s chilling intent or created a flat line effect when it was meant to chill. However with all the negative elements I experienced while watching “Torn”, I have to say that it took the sub genre serious, had a creepy concept and managed to complete the story’s arc. This one is a 50/50 for me as a horror fan, and as a fan of British horror.

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