Tuesday, August 30, 2011

If A Tree Falls (2010)

From Black Fawn Films
Directed by Philip Carrer, writer Ryan Barrett & producers Chad Archibald, Carrer, & Barrett.
IMDB page
In this independent Canadian horror film, siblings Brad & Lisa, along with friends Vanessa & Will, set off on a fun-filled cross-country road trip. Along the way, they stop at a lake and decide to set up camp for the night. Unbeknownst to the group, they have been targeted and the good times quickly go terribly wrong. The entire tone of the film shifts to a nightmare of psychological and physical terror. The characters are victimized and tortured by six masked assailants who seemingly act without motive and without reason.

What follows is a deeply disturbing, gritty, and graphic experience in the style and tradition of 70s exploitation horror. From the vintage style opening cards through the Chainsaw-esque introduction (proclaiming the film to be based on true events), the film is firmly entrenched in the tradition of flicks including Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Last House on the Left, I Spit on Your Grave, through modern films including The Devil’s Rejects and of course, Tarantino & Rodriguez’s Grindhouse. Much like Grindhouse, the filmmakers have adopted the grainy film stock and washed out look to mimic vintage 70s cinema.

Clocking in at 80 minutes, the plot moves along briskly with the simple setup – the cross country outing gone wrong – with some decent character development before the attack– a brother and sister duo are plagued with personal problems and secrets, along with two friends who are mostly interested in partying. However, these characters are not your typical annoying twenty-somethings or teens that inhabit most horror films. They are somewhat likeable, mostly due to the quite good and natural acting by the cast.

The direction is solid with some nice visual techniques and overall look, which serves the chilling script well. Musically, the downbeat soundtrack is effective, with periodic electronic stingers that make the on-screen violence even more uncomfortable.

The killers are a bizarre and unsettling lot – adorned in ripped and torn pantyhose masks, along with punk and fetish-gear like clothing. They do not speak but merely grunt or squeal in a disturbing fashion. No explanation is ever truly offered for their savagery and killing, but the viewer surmises, they do it for no other reason than enjoyment. When one finally does speak, he whispers a chilling statement to the lone survivor - "We find the ones that can't be found" which as others have noted intones that this group is responsible for missing persons all across the nation. There is also a very frightening ranting manifesto presented by this same killer that ends the film and left me even more unsettled.

Given it is unrated, the film contains extreme violence and images not for everyone or all ages. Surprisingly, the violence is not overly bloody or gory, but instead is very realistic. This is not a standard clich├ęd slasher gore fest but rather a suspense filled dread building narrative that ultimately snaps. The tension builds and builds as the killers take pleasure in tormenting and toying with the friends. The viewer is drawn in to several sequences where tension becomes palpable and will be shocked when the characters are suddenly and viciously murdered by the masked assailants.

While seemingly derivative in plot and tone, If A Tree Falls is in fact a harrowingly original independent film well worth viewing and adding to your horror collection. Remember, the next time your friends invite you along for a road trip –“From dawn to dusk – help is not coming.”

Monday, August 29, 2011

Gary B's: This Week in Horror History (Aug. 29-Sept. 4)

Here is the latest installment of..."this week in Horror History"

Aug. 29:
1915: Ingrid Begman (actress in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1941) was born (d. Aug. 29, 1982)
1935: William Friedkin (director of The Exorcist, Rampage and The Guardian) was born
1939: Joel Schumacher (director of The Lost Boys) was born

Aug. 30:
2000: Resident Evil: Survivor - was released on PlayStation

Aug. 31:
1983: Basketcase - was released theatrically
2007: Halloween (remake) - was released theatrically

Sept. 1:
1939: The Hunchback of Notre Dame - was released theatrically

Sept. 2:
1923: The Hunchback of Notre Dame - was released theatrically
1978: Dawn of the Dead - was released theatrically

Sept. 3 and 4:
Nothing notable on these days

The woods are alive.....

Scream out to my friend Scabbie for his time and patience instructing me on some prop making, and for having me out to his home for the weekend (special thanks to his wife & daughter too!). He's been creating some twisted and crazy stuff, and I picked up a lot of info on corpsing and other techniques.

He got me well on my way with stick man here (including giving me the kick-ass corpsed skull he created). I have a lot more I want to do with this guy and add on, includuing more cloth and general mayhem. Just a preview of what is to come. Now all I need is a dry weekend and some time to get to working on making him even nastier.

Thanks again Scabbie! You rock, bud.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dan Aykroyd on Ghostbusters 3

Dan Aykroyd talks when the flick will start shooting, casting (Mr. Murray where art thou?) and plot details.

Thanks to my fellow Hauntcaster & cool chica Shelley for the link.

Satan Hates You

Check out this trailer, boils & ghouls - I gotta see this flick!

This is the trailer for Satan Hates You, a feature length film by writer/director James Felix McKenney. This film is produced by Glass Eye Pix, Larry Fessenden, Lisa Wisely, James Felix McKenney, Jeremiah Kipp and Brent Kunkle. The film stars Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, Michael Berryman, Debbie Rochon, Don Wood, Christene Spencer with cameos by Max Brooks and Pauley Perrette.

SATAN HATES YOU is a feature film from producer Larry Fessenden's Glass Eye Pix and writer/director James Felix McKenney's MonsterPants Movies. The film has been in the process of being shot in small segments since 2005 while McKenney and company worked on other projects, including the critically acclaimed AUTOMATONS. The final shoot, which makes up the bulk of SATAN HATES YOU, was completed in July of 2008.

Inspired by films from the golden age of religious cinema such as A THIEF IN THE NIGHT (1972), IF FOOTMEN TIRE YOU, WHAT WILL HORSES DO? (1971) and STALKED (1969), SATAN HATES YOU is a graphic horror film that tells the stories of two individuals and their personal struggles with Lucifer himself.
We follow Marc (Don Wood) a homicidal maniac driven by demons buried deep within his soul, and Wendy (Christine Spencer) Marc's polar opposite who lives life fast and hard without a second's thought to the consequences. Their separate paths will eventually cross, but will it be on the road to salvation or the highway to hell?

All the details at the official site.

The ABCs of Death: 26 Directors 26 Ways To Die

An (almost) complete roster of directors has been announced for the 26-part anthology horror film "The ABCs of Death." The international co-production comprises 26 individual episodes, with each director assigned a letter of the alphabet inspiring a single word about death. Currently in pre-production, the films producers have reserved the 26th spot (The Letter T it looks like) for a world-wide contest to find tomorrow's next great horror filmmaker.

Click here to check out the web site and see this amazing list of directors.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Four TV Spots for The Walking Dead

TV.com has posted four 11 second spots for the upcoming season of The Walking Dead.
Click here to check them out.

Underground Monster Carnival coming March 3, 2012

I just wanted to drop a few lines about an upcoming event in Oklahoma City. The first annual Underground Monster Carnival will be held March 3, 2012 in the Hobby & Crafts building (20,000 SF) at the Oklahoma State Fair Grounds.

from the web site...

Art Sunday and Underground Horror Fest presents...

This is an old school Carnival theme convention with prizes and costume contest, a B-movie style film room, a haunted room, special Coney Island style exhibits, vendors, workshops, music and much much more.

For the collector in everyone the show will be filled with vendors selling sci-fi, fantasy, horror, steampunk and low brow arts and crafts as well as comics, books, movies and apparel.

When: March 3, 2012, 2-10pm
Where: OKC Fairgrounds, Oklahoma City, OK

How Much: $10 adults 11 and up, $6 10 and younger

Why: Cause it will be awesome!


more info coming soon...

I am really excited about this event...I might be a little bias since I am the Graphic Design Sponsor for the event (yes, I did the logo) or that I will be building and running the haunted room as a side event, my first entry into a commercial style haunt....we'll see how it goes.

If you want to keep up on the list of vendors and guests, click here for the web site.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Clowns Against Clownism

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

We all need to come together as a community to end this terrible societal ill. Please check out the video and do your part.

Did a little acting last weekend.........

I posted a bit about this on Facebook, but for all the gory (and I do mean gory) details, check out next week's Hauntcast.

"Hyde" on ABC

Interesting - a second network is developing a monster-based TV show. Recall that NBC is developing a new Frankenstein-based series.

Check out the skinny on "Hyde" - the plot will revolve around "a man named Grant Hyde who, after experimenting with a drug to improve his vision, turns into something else after he falls asleep." Here's a bit more on the plot.

We shall see.

"The Last Exorcism" sequel

I really dug this flick, so sure bring on another one.

Link be here.

White trash gone wild

Two great tastes that go great together - meth and tombstones.

Thanks to Shellhawk for the link!

The Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride featured on Weather Channel

Here's some cool news-

The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride has been selected as one of the top ten scariest Haunted Attractions in America by the Weather Channel, and will be featured on a special 1 hour show called “Top Hallow Screams” to be aired this October. The film crew from High Noon Productions will be shooting live on September 30th at the Bates Motel.

Check out the link for all the info.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gary B's Plastic Bag Fun

What can you do with a heat gun, cheap plastic trash bags, half mannequin torsos and a trully sick partner in screams (my wife, a.k.a. The Handler).
The wife and I have been making some rotting corpses/peeled flesh bodies for the haunt this year. You can never be too gross I always say.
Here is a link of all of the photos.

Gary B to go behind the scenes at Zombie Manor

Hello me horror brethren,

This weekend I will be traveling south of the red river into Arlington, TX, to take a guided tour of Zombie Manor. This will be the second part of a three part series on this terrifying haunt.

Just to refresh your memories here is a link to the first part of the series. The final part will come in October when my wife and I drive down to go thru the haunt.

Gary B's: This Week in Horror History (Aug. 22-28)

Hello all..here is this weeks installment of ..."this week in horror history."

Aug. 22:
1986: Night of the Creeps - released theatrically
1997: Mimic - released theatrically

Aug. 23:
Nothing notable on this day

Aug. 24:
1960: Takashi Miike (director of Audition & 13 Assassins) was born
1990: Darkman - released theatrically
2001: Ghosts of Mars - released theatrically

Aug. 25:
1979: Zombi II - released theatrically

Aug. 26-28:
Nothing notable on these days

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mommy Can I Go Out & Kill Tonight?

I took a trip out to hang with my bud Scabbie for the weekend. We decided to take a trek through the woods and came across this effigy. We weren't sure if it was a warning or a memorial of some kind.

Apparently there were several missing persons found in the creek in the late '40s. To this day the crimes remain unsolved. We hiked out a bit more and came across an old house long rumored to be part of some cult activity in the area back in the '70s.

When we wound our way back through the path, the effigy had a friend. An old broken clown that was now watching us.

We headed back to his garage for the night. I was curious about what we had seen so the next morning we took the same path out into the woods. Now, there were additional things at the spot.

These were all the pictures I was able to snap before we heard someone - or something- approaching us. Whispers seemed to come from the brush itself, and nature felt suffocatingly evil. Later that night we heard chanting coming from the forrest and saw faint flickering lights. Upon our return the next morning, everything was gone, as if it had never been.....

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Woman eats dead husband's ashes

Uhm what? Gross. What kind of wine goes best with ashes?

Check out this story.

The Midnite Spookfrolic Jukebox: The Misfits “Where Eagles Dare”

Rock out with your props out.

Take the severed heads bowling

Scream out to xREDGHOSTRIDERx for the cool link.

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor novel

Thanks to CBR for the official press release:

Robert Kirkman’s first in a three book series with Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press will hit shelves nationwide October 11th and is now available for pre-sale on Amazon.com. The book, which Kirkman co-authored with horror genre vet Jay Bonansinga, is titled The Walking Dead: The Rise of the Governor.

In The Walking Dead, there is no greater villain than The Governor. The despot who runs the walled-off town of Woodbury, has his own sick sense of justice: whether forcing prisoners to battle zombies in an arena for the townspeople's amusement, or chopping off the appendages of those who cross him. The Governor was voted "Villain of the Year" by Wizard Magazine the year he debuted, and his story arc was the most controversial in the 7-year history of The Walking Dead comic book series. Now, for the first time, fans of TWD will discover how The Governor became the man he is, and what drove him to such extremes.

“I started reading The Walking Dead when the first issue debuted in 2003, and I still read it monthly to this day. As a fan of the comic book and of the TV show, it's a huge honor to be editing Rise of the Governor, and I think fans of The Waking Dead universe are going to be blown away by what Robert and Jay have done with this novel,” said Brendan Deneen of Thomas Dunne Books.

Creator and writer Robert Kirkman is thrilled to tell more of the story, “There are many pieces of the overall Walking Dead puzzle that just don't fit in the comic book series. The Governor's story is one of them. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity for these stories to be told and working with Jay Bonansinga to bring them into the world has been amazing.”

“To be invited to play in the fertile sandbox of Robert’s mind is absolutely the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a writer of horror and psychological suspense,” says co-author Jay Bonansinga. “The comic is so rich with latent, off-screen back-stories, it’s like exploring the deepest part of the ocean ¬ and just as dark and scary!”

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Frankenstein" coming to NBC

From Variety:

NBC has ordered a drama script billed as a modern-day take on the legend of "Frankenstein."

Script comes from two of the executive producers of "House," Russel Friend and Garrett Lerner, via that series' studio, Universal Media Studios, and BermanBraun.

I'm not clear whether this is a TV movie or a pilot for a proposed series. Either way, I'll keep my eyes out for more details.

N.J's Big Red Eye

Cool article about Jersey’s Big Red Eye.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hauntcast 33: Found Footage now slaying!

What up, boils & ghouls! Hauntcast 33 is now slaying!! That’s right, the latest and greatest episode is now available.

Join us as I cover some spooktacular new monster mags, a new web series, preview August theatrical releases and review the Candian indie flick If A Tree Falls. Chris proudly presents his interview with Eric Lowther of Haunted Overload & kick-ass musical guest The Bloody Jug Band, Rev talks the right – and wrong- kind of scary in Act I of the Safety Play, Grimlock presents Access Hollyween, The Mistress of Mayhem “waxes” nostalgic for Scar Stuff and other retro Halloween make-up kits, Denhaunt takes you through the making of a cheap and easy trigger mechanism as a prop controller, Ed comes this way with scare design examples and how to achieve them successfully, and Niblique71, winner of the Haunt Forum $20 Prop Challenge is Mad Propped for his Fester D Krepid prop.

Stay scary with Hauntcast!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

AMC President talks The Walking Dead Season 2 Budget

Or does he? Check this out courtesy of DC.

Doc Bizarre, M.D. from Image Comics

Here's news of a cool new monster comic coming our way this October. Check it out!

The writer of GODLAND and recent, over-the-top sensation BUTCHER BAKER, THE RIGHTEOUS MAKER has once again teamed up with his former CHARLATAN BALL collaborator Andy Suriano to offer readers a new solution to their supernatural problems. DOC BIZARRE, M.D., a strange tale of sick monsters, medically-challenged myths, and ghouls at Death’s door, will debut in October from Image Comics.

"I loved collaborating with Joe again," Suriano said. "Every time we put our heads together I feel like I need a trip to the sanitarium after--the dude's sick! In the best possible way, of course. This new cast of characters we brought to life are twisted and equally as colorful; I just hope everyone's ready for the bizarre!"
"Another technicolor brain dump from Andy and me," added Casey. "This time delivered in one, easily digestible chunk of hardcover graphic novel goodness! Hopefully folks will have as much fun reading it as we had making it."

Prepare to enter the world of DOC BIZARRE, M.D., a world of coughing creeps and
diseased devils, a world where a doctor’s prescription might include wolfsbane and garlic, a world where even the most powerful vampires find themselves crippled by the common cold. Who else can they turn to for relief, but DOC BIZARRE, M.D.?

DOC BIZARRE M.D., a 72-page full color comedic horror comic for $12.99, is available to order in the August issue of Previews and will be available at a comic store near you on October 19, 2011.

Thanks to CBR for the info and official press release.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Man told he can't wear bunny suit anymore.....

What is the world coming to? The tutu is a jaunty touch.

Check out this story.

Paramount wants Aja for Pet Sematary remake

Interesting - suddenly my interest has been piqued by the possibility of Aja directing this remake.

Check out the story in the link.

Hitchcock’s First Film Found

Here's some cool film news -

The National Film Preservation Foundation and the New Zealand Film Archive, while looking for their keys one day, happened to find the first 30 minutes of The White Shadow, a 1923 silent British film considered to be Alfred Hitchcock's first ever feature-length project.

...the "re-premiere" is slated for September 22 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles.

Thanks to my sister for the link.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Eli Roth's Hostel: Hunting Season & Alice Cooper:Welcome to My Nightmare - Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood

Scary kids!

Eli Roth will adapt the Hostel flicks and create a maze for Universal this season. Cleverly enough, it will be called "Eli Roth's Hostel: Hunting Season." All the fun starts September 23 and continues on select nights through October 31.

But wait, there's more! Alice Cooper will also present “Alice Cooper: Welcome To My Nightmare.”

Check out the Roth link and the Cooper link for all the details.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Gary B's: This Week in Horror History (Aug. 1-7)

Hello me kindred horror spirits, here is this weeks installment of.....this week in horror history.

Aug. 1:
1883: Lon Chaney, Sr. was born (d. 1930)
1971: The Omega Man - released theatrically
1986: Friday the 13th: Part VI: Jason Lives - released theatrically

Aug. 2:
1939: Wes Craven was born
1999: The Sixth Sense - released theatrically
2001: The Others - released theatrically
2002: Signs - released theatrically

Aug. 3:
1978: Piranha - released theatrically

Aug. 4:
1932: White Zombie - released theatrically
1964: author Elizabeth Kostiva (The Historian) was born

Aug. 5:
1998: Halloween: H20: 20 Years Later - released theatrically

Aug 6:
1970: director M. Night Shyamalan was born

Aug. 7:
Nothing notable on this day

The Midnite Spook Frolic Jukebox: The Bloody Jug Band "IntroJam" & "Born to Raise Hell"

The Bloody Jug Band is a great and talented group of musicians. I was lucky enough to line them up for Chris for an interview and feature on Hauntcast.

Check out the cool live performance below, and be sure to visit their official site.

Look for the interview and tunes on the new Hauntcast coming August 5th!

The Ghost Car

What a sweet ride.

The 1939 Pontiac Deluxe Six "Ghost Car," first displayed at the New York World's Fair and later at the Smithsonian Institution, was sold Saturday for $308,000.

Check out the link.