david cronenberg



We don’t get very many all-star horror anthologies these days, in terms of the talent either in front of or behind the camera.  A lot of that might be owed to the fact that we’ve lost quite a few of our icons in the past few years: viagra headache alternative click https://aspirebhdd.org/health/low-testosterone-viagra/12/ conducting a study for research research paper writing services how to automatically forward text messages to email iphone viagra ayuda al corazon my predicament essay buy essay plagiarism free http://mechajournal.com/alumni/help-in-homework/12/ least expensive viagra prescription click source site business plan human resources template is cialis safe follow link custom coursework writing go to site https://greenechamber.org/blog/piracy-essay/74/ how to write a academic essay history thesis paper format service essay buy viagra uk only http://www.naymz.com/math-homework-help-now/ Buy now cialis write your essay for you https://grad.cochise.edu/college/thesis-dedication-and-acknowledgement-sample/20/ cialis samples free what is title page in research https://lynchburgartclub.org/essay-on-historical-monuments-of-india-in-hindi-language/ diamox canada no rx see url Romero, Craven, Hooper, Cohen, and besides the beloved Sid Haig, too many great actors to review without things getting painful.  So as a few new opportunities to review these collections arise, how is the sub-genre faring thus far? Let’s take one of the more recently buzzed-about examples and see…

NIGHTMARE CINEMA is the work of a rotating “tag team” of directorial talent, spearheaded by MASTERS OF HORROR creator/showrunner Mick Garris (also director of several Stephen King adaptations, including his celebrated mini-series rendering of King’s beloved epic, THE STAND). The guest helmers include Alejandro Brugues (JUAN OF THE DEAD), Joe Dante (who should require no introduction, but hey: if you haven’t already seen GREMLINS, THE HOWLING or the original PIRANHA about a dozen times each, what the hell are you doing here???), Japanese gore-master Ryuhei Kitamura (VERSUS, NO ONE LIVES and the film version of Clive Barker’s MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN), and David Slade (the unsettling HARD CANDY, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT and the controversial “Bandersnatch” episode of BLACK MIRROR.)

The wraparound story features a mysterious character known as “The Projectionist” in a creeptastic old grindhouse that the subjects of the tales find themselves irresistibly drawn to.  As they’re seated inside, the lights go down and the “movie” begins, not only do they discover that they’re the ‘stars’ of their own shows, but the climaxes reveal what their fates actually were. (Spoiler alert: nobody in this flick “lives happily ever after.” Usually.)

It’s a great format to present the stories in, as done in the old-school Hammer and Amicus traditions, and also as in those collections, the quality of the stories vary from one to the other.

In “The Thing In The Woods”, the opener that kicks things off, a group of friends finds themselves in a “FRIDAY THE 13TH slasher scenario, with each person dying horribly one-by-one at the hands of a masked killer called “The Welder”. But there is what I thought was a very clever twist mid-tale that turns the entire crazed killer trope on its head, as the tried-and-true convention becomes something else entirely. Director Brugues shows a great twisted sense of humor with this one, not unlike the tone James Gunn struck in his loving tribute to genre horror, SLITHER, which makes me curious to see JUAN OF THE DEAD, the movie that put him on the map.

Next, seasoned vet Dante puts a new spin on an old classic in “Mirari,” featuring classic movie and TV legend Richard Chamberlain. He is the ‘Dr. Mirari’ of the title; a renowned plastic surgeon charged with helping improve the looks of a disfigured young lady, whose fiancée is helping her in this endeavor, thanks to the generosity of her well-heeled mother-in-law-to-be. If you’re at all familiar with the original TWILIGHT ZONE, there’s an episode this segment draws from, called “Eye Of The Beholder.” However, it takes the premise of that story into a direction that only dyed-in-the-wool horror buffs will probably see coming.

If you’re familiar with his work at all, you know Kitamura for three things: lots of action, a dark and twisted perspective on the world and the ‘human condition’, and blood…lots and lots of blood.  And with “Mashit”, he doesn’t disappoint, in this gore-dripping saga of a priest and a nun at a Catholic boarding school, who must deal with a demonic threat that will engulf and destroy them and the kids, if they fail in their mission to vanquish it. Kitamura gives his usual bloodletting a bit of a Fulci-esque kind of twist, with the inclusion of religious iconography, so the episode does have that bit of giallo horror flavor going for it.


Slade gets what’s probably the most disturbingly mind-bending story of the bunch, “This Way To Egress”. At the office of a therapist she’s visiting, a woman finds that one of two things is happening: the therapy obviously isn’t working, as her grip on reality continues to slip into chaos, and she watches the people and the very walls of the building around her rot and decay. Or: she’s somehow begun to see that nothing in the world is as it seems, and she’s being driven mad by the realization of what lies underneath the veil.

The final story, “Dead”, pretty much gives itself away in the title. A young piano prodigy is the sole survivor of a carjacking-gone-wrong that results in the death of his parents. His own near-death brush leaves him open to seeing and communicating with the spirits of those who have passed over, in the hospital where he ends up. It’s a weird and unsettling ‘gift’ straight out of similar stories like GHOST, and just like in that movie, not only are some ghosts not ‘Casper-friendly’, but there are specific ones who have an agenda for the boy…and it’s not a good one. Director Garris uses this last story to bring the entire film full circle.

Let’s talk quality first. As the stories go, it’s my opinion that Brugues’ episode is the most clever, with its Eighties direct-to-video throwback vibe and darkly funny ending; “Egress” is the most imaginative, with its nods to Lovecraft, David Cronenberg and SILENT HILL (both the movie and the games).  You’re never quite sure what’s going to happen next, or what horrible oozing visual you’re going to be subjected to at any given time, which shouldn’t bother a “hardened” horror vet like myself…and yet it does, thanks especially to the strong psychological horror bent of the story, a stunning performance by Elizabeth Reaser, and makeup/visual effects that are far above in their quality what appears in the other episodes. So for me, “Egress” definitely takes the top spot, with “The Thing…” coming in a close second.

It’s no surprise at all that Kitamura’s vignette is the one that will satisfy gorehounds the most. Once upon a time, it was considered an almost unbreakable taboo to put kids in any kind of dire peril in any film let alone a horror film, and this is a convention he takes a mad glee in slashing through (literally), as the demon known as “Mashit” wreaks unholy havoc upon the school and all who live – and die there. I want to avoid as many spoilers as possible, but the bottom line of the tale is this: even the secrets you think you can keep from yourself will be revealed sooner or later, and the outcome is never good.

However, where “Mashit” fails is the under-development of the characters. It’s not a good sign when you aren’t really rooting for anyone, and it’s worse still when the “heroes” are members of the clergy…and you still don’t care all that much what happens to them.  I suppose this may have been intentional, considering the turn the story takes as it nears its gruesome climax.  Where that is unsuccessful, though, “Dead” manages to instill nothing but empathy in the audience, thanks in huge part to the performances of newcomer Faly Rakotohavana as Riley, the child prodigy, and Annabeth Gish as his late mom, Charity.  Lexy Panterra also gives a great supporting turn as Riley’s smart-assed next-door “roommate”, Casey. The chemistry between the actors, and Garris’s touch as a director with ensembles is what elevates it to third place over “Mashit.”

Surprisingly, Dante’s “Mirari” is the one that comes in last. An episode that wouldn’t be at all out of place as an episode of HBO’s TALES FROM THE CRYPT, though it boasts a reliable performance from Chamberlain, it still plays as somewhat derivative. The same could be said of “Dead” as well, but it’s the handling of the stories that determine their effectiveness. Even with the clever twist at the end, Dante can’t avoid the curse of “been there, seen that” in this particular story, while the emotional heft of “Dead” is the main thing it has going for it, helping it overcome the familiarity “hump.”

And speaking of that, since CINEMA is intentionally paying homage to past horror anthologies, the music clearly reflects this, provided by several different composers. Kyle Newmaster tips his hat to John Harrison’s great theme for the immortal CREEPSHOW with a very familiar-sounding riff on it, followed by some good Marco Beltrami-type flourishes in the score for “Woods.” Fan favorite Richard Band does his thing on “Dead” and really has a lot of fun with “Mirari” as he “mirrors” some leit-motifs of his own, cribbing from Alan Silvestri’s wonderful DEATH BECOMES HER score.  Composer J.G. Thirlwell goes for creepy Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross-like discordance and ambiance on “Egress”, while Aldo Shllaku goes full-on Simon Boswell/Claudio Simonetti/GOBLIN with the score for “Mashit”, which does help with its gonzo giallo touches. (And by the way – the sound design on “Egress” really ramps up the skeevy feel of the visual effects, so kudos to that team.)

And finally, the glue that binds this all together: the wraparound sequences. Handled by Garris in addition to the “Dead” episode, they feature Mickey Rourke, having a blast as “The Projectionist.” As with any classic anthology, you need a strong premise to hold it all together, and barring that, a narrator like “The Crypt-Keeper” or “The Creep” with a strong enough presence to keep viewers engaged. Rourke’s performance – which for me is one of the best he’s given in a while – has been debatable among fans to say the least, but I find less fault in his acting, or Garris’s direction, than I do in the scripting of the “binder.”

It’s pretty obvious what purpose The Projectionist serves, but I would’ve liked to have seen the ultimate fates of the doomed characters made more clear. And the gorier their demises, the better, even with what happens in the climax of each tale. But as the disclaimer always states, this is just how things resonated with me…Your ‘mileage’ may vary.

I don’t think a NIGHTMARE CINEMA series would be all that bad an idea. It was fun enough that a weekly two-story installment (similar to Shudder’s CREEPSHOW revival) would be something I’d welcome into my schedule, if they decided to go with it.  Overall, I give CINEMA three-and-a-half out of five stars!

Rabid (2019 Review) — House Of Tortured Souls

Rabid (2019 Review) — House Of Tortured Souls

The Soskas pay homage to David Cronenberg’s 1977 cult-classic Rabid with their highly anticipated remake so beautifully with their own twists leaving Easter eggs along this wild ride.

Who else would be perfect to take on the task of remaking such a beautiful classic— no one except for identical Canadian twins Jen and Sylvia Soska (See No Evil 2, American Mary). They made it clear that this remake would not be a shot for shot, but to rather pay homage to David’s film.

Let’s start off with our leading lady Rose (Laura VandervoortJigsaw, Bitten). Rose is an aspiring fashion designer, who like those in that competitive environment is struggling to earn the recognition and respect she deserves from Gunter (Mackenzie Gray), her boss. Rose who was in a car accident many years ago bears some facial scarring and keeps to herself and to her work, but let’s her friend Chelsea (Hanneke TalbotReady or Not) set her up on a date with their coworker. While in the restroom, Rose overheard insults about herself and realized that the date was a set up by her good friend, she then flees the scene only to get involved in an awful motorcycle accident disfiguring her beautiful face.

After having her disfigurement explained to her by the doctor, she’s determined to see the damage and then takes Dr. Burroughs (Ted Atherton) offer time restoring her back to normal using stem cell manipulation.  With nothing to lose, Rose goes under the sketchy operation and it’s very successful, she comes out of it looking fresh and unscathed. But as we all know, a successful surgery with have some some complications down the line and Rose started to experience sexual aggressive episodes in dreamlike states.

Rose discovers how real her dream like tendencies are becoming and her victims are walking zombies craving blood and flesh after being exposed to the rabies she has been spreading.

The remake was a great tribute to the original but played homage to other movies as well. Laura Vandervoort was the perfect candidate to portray Rose and gave a very appealing performance.

Rabid was released to select theatre screenings in the US on December 13th and if you can’t find it at a theater near you, don’t you worry because you can purchase it on Amazon, through Apple, and other sites for your viewing pleasure.

Posted by Sarah Gregory in Categories, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
Soska Sisters: Pitching to remake Cronenberg’s ‘Dead Ringers’, ‘Scanners’, & ‘Cat People’—House Of Tortured Souls

Soska Sisters: Pitching to remake Cronenberg’s ‘Dead Ringers’, ‘Scanners’, & ‘Cat People’—House Of Tortured Souls

 The Soska Sisters already took on the remake of David Cronenberg’s horror classic Rabid, which is due for release sometime this year. With a recent Twitter post, Jen and Sylvia (also known as the twisted twins ) are not planning on slowing their roll anytime soon.

A fan asked on Twitter if there will be any more future remakes and Jen and Sylvia gave the following reply :

       “Yes!! Dead Ringers, Scanners and Cat      People  please. There’s one more, but we’re actually pitching for it—-wish us luck!”

They made a guest appearance at MonsterMania con this past weekend in New Jersey where they mentioned briefly in their Q&A on upcoming projects they would like to tackle in the future. They are creative geniuses who I know will make Cronenberg very proud with how they take on remaking his classic films. I look forward to Rabid being released soon as well as what else they have up there creative sleeves. 






Posted by Sarah Gregory in Categories, EXCLUSIVE, HORROR NEWS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
Essence is coming soon and you can help!

Essence is coming soon and you can help!

I had the pleasure to see the teaser trailer for the new film by Jeff KACMARYNSKI’SESSCENSE” the film has a real late 70’s vibe to it from what I saw and have to say I’m intrigued along with the grindhouse feel of the style of old film. The trailer gave a little bit of what to expect but didn’t reveal all too much which is good because seeing this I’m interested to see what will transpire and want to walk in  surprised on how it escalates. I was lucky enough to get a little more information from the Director on the plot and inspiration of the film “After the death of her son, Joanna discovers a hidden room in her home, with a power that could lead her back to him. However, the room instead, unleashes a malicious cosmic entity, that feeds on her fears and sanity, ultimately unleashing a terrible mind game. Our cast includes legendary Lynn Lowry, and veteran actress Maggie Wagner. We are doing a very psychedelic surreal horror film, influenced by Cronenberg, Lynch, Lovecraft , Argento and Fulci.” I have to wonder will we see body horror, over the top gore that will get under our skin? One thing is fore I myself can’t wait to see more. This will be his first feature film that he’s done since his shorts he did some time back DEAD THERAPY is featured in Wild Eye Releasing’s movie WELCOME TO HELL which all have won several awards. Right now there’s a indigo campaign so if you like to contribute by all means even a share helps! For more information here’s a direct link to the Indigogo campaign



MOVIE REVIEW: The Rejuvenator (aka Rejuvenatrix) (1988)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Rejuvenator (aka Rejuvenatrix) (1988)

The Rejuvenator (1988) / Fair use doctrine.Oh, brother. If you love “So Bad It’s Good” movies (or ‘SoBIG’s’, as I usually refer to them), you gotta love the drive-in ‘classic’ and direct-to-video “disasterpieces” from the mid-to-late Seventies, definitely the Eighties, and even some entries from the Nineties and beyond. So, if you’ve never seen 1988’s The Rejuvenator (aka Rejuvenatrix), set your “phasers” on “to be STUNNED!” This is a SoBIG trash wallow at its very finest; a mishmash of all the best aspects of films that actually have gone on to become classics in their own right.

If Death Becomes Her, Sunset Boulevard and David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly were involved in some kind of horrific car crash, the result, pulled from the tangled, mangled mess of wreckage, would be this little gem. A no-name cast, the community theater-level acting, and some surprisingly good practical effects (for this micro-micro budget), make this a good/bad movie lover’s glistening wet dream.

The Rejuvenator (1988) / Fair use doctrine.The Rejuvenator begins with your garden-variety, B-movie mad scientist, Dr. Gregory Ashton, (John McKay) is doing some, shall we say, unorthodox work in the field of gerontology and biology. Not that he’s actually studying elderly people, but he IS trying to find a way to retard or even reverse the aging process. And naturally, as the movie begins, he’s not having the best of luck in refining said process, as a deformed lab animal kills other test subjects before meeting its own sticky, gooey demise.

The Rejuvenator (1988) / Fair use doctrine.

Ashton’s research is being funded mostly by the vain, petulant, grandiose fading Hollywood actress Ruth Warren (Jessica Dublin), whose agenda for supporting his work is – what else? – to make herself younger again, so she can make her ‘huge big-screen comeback,’ and show the rest of the dime-a-dozen starlets and ingenues how it’s done. It’s not helping matters any that Ashton is constantly being spied upon by his sleazy, unctuous colleague, Dr. Germaine (Marcus Powell), superior sneer and upper-crusty accent included.

The Rejuvenator (1988) / Fair use doctrine.The good doctor and his benefactress aren’t without their own unrequited admirers, though. Ashton is assisted in his research by Dr. Stella Stone (Katell Pleven), a woman who is actually smart and beautiful…not the usual direction that kind of role takes in this kind of picture. Ruth’s not-so-secret admirer is her manservant, Wilhelm, (James Hogue, obviously filling the Erich von Stroheim role from Sunset Boulevard), a former ‘paramour’ from her halcyon days, who is now content to wait on her, hand-and-foot if that allows him to continue to be close to her. (Yes, I see you rolling your eyes, but it’s that kind of movie!)

The Rejuvenator (1988) / Fair use doctrine.

Threatened with losing his funding if he doesn’t come across with the goods, and soon, the harried Dr. Ashton has no choice, but to do what just about all ‘mad-doctors’ do in his situation: he complies. He injects Ruth with the serum he has “almost” perfected, and after the required flurry of surprisingly good low-budget makeup effects, (provided by Ed French, Dan Frye, and Bruce S. Fuller), Ruth magically is converted into…ANOTHER ACTRESS!

You heard me. The stunning ‘new edition’ of Ruth has renamed herself “Elizabeth” (Vivian Lanko, who pulls double-duty here as the “improved” Ruth and as The Thing She Turns Into), whose backstory is now “the young niece of Ruth Warren, who is taking care of her estate, while her aunt goes away on a very long retreat.”

If you’ve seen enough of these monstrosities, (yes, that pun IS intended), you know where this is headed. Being an Eighties film, there has to be enough satisfactory sex and violence, so the sex part comes in when Elizabeth shows Dr. Ashton her gratitude for the miracle he’s worked for her. Wait, don’t leave! There’s so much more…

All the while, in the background, Dr. Stone and Wilhelm skulk around, mooning after their respective objects of desire and imagining what it would be like to finally be with them romantically. (There’s a dream sequence involving all the principal characters that includes a ‘dance number’ you have to see to believe!)

But, back to the ‘youth’ serum. You might recall that I mentioned it was “almost perfected”? Well, it has some pretty disgusting side effects, including the desire to murder random people and remove their brains – Oh, didn’t I mention that? Ashton’s serum is synthesized from human brain tissue, and one of the problems is that the more serum is used, larger and larger doses become required as the body builds up a tolerance to it with each application.

What would an Eighties schlockfest like this be without the opportunity to mix even more sex and violence onscreen? When Elizabeth’s sexual appetites increase with her new youthfulness, she ‘graduates’ from Gregory, moving on to random strangers, and eventually going out on her own to prowl the nightlife, going into the most retro-tastic club you can imagine, where the hot, big-haired, heavy-metal all-girl band called The Poison Dolly’s are playing!

The tunes, which sound like the kind of stuff that The Runaways turned down, are sublimely terrible, and of course, the band is dressed so that not too many people are really paying much attention to the “music.” When the serum begins to wear off and Elizabeth resembles a putrid pumpkin more than Cinderella, this is where the aforementioned murder of some posh poseur happens outside the club…in a phone booth, no less! (Remember those?)

The Rejuvenator (1988) / Fair use doctrine.From here, it’s all pretty much by-the-numbers. Greg Ashton struggles, along with Stella, to try and artificially synthesize the formula in the lab successfully, so that brain tissue from cadavers will no longer be necessary. Meanwhile, the suspicious and jealous Dr. Germaine is closing in to shut down Ashton and his lab for good, snatching the research results for himself. And all the while, Elizabeth’s transformations grow more and more extreme, as does her need to hold onto her newly-found youth – at any cost.

Am I making this direct-to-video hoot sound better than it actually is? If so, my sincere apologies. But this IS entertaining enough that it wouldn’t surprise me if the MST3K/RiffTrax guys or Elvira have already worked their magic with it.

Brian Thomas Jones’ script (adapted from Simon Nuchtern’s original screenplay) and direction, rises above a first-year film school student’s initial project…but not that far above it. Just about all of the actors walk through this like it’s something to pad their resumes with, but not much else, although as the Dollar Store version of “Norma Desmond”, Lanko and Dublin seem to be having the most fun, playing the venial and selfish “Ruth/Elizabeth”. As funny as it plays when the “switch” occurs, Lanko’s not half-bad keeping the continuity going with the character.

It’s probably not even coincidental, the similarities between The Rejuvenator and another film that came out three years before it, Stuart Gordon’s celebrated Lovecraft adaptation, Re-Animator. For all we know, Re-Animator probably had the same level budget but better actors, a seasoned director at the helm, and the ridiculously gory effects of monster master John Carl Buechler.

At the end of the day, just like some of its counterparts, The Rejuvenator makes a great, fun, bad time-capsule worthy window into a crazy-ass decade, as well as a throwback to When DTV Low-Budget Movies Ruled The Earth. The makeup effects guys went on to establish some pretty impressive credentials, even if the cast and creative team did not. But for all the work that went into this, good, bad or indifferent, I feel perfectly fine in awarding it two-and-a-half out of five stars.

The Rejuvenator (1988) / Fair use doctrine.

Oh, and side note: like so many rarities that were only released originally on VHS tapes, I was “lucky” enough to stumble over The Rejuvenator, while surfing YouTube, where it’s one of their free movies. There are other places where you might be able to get it, but I strongly suggest that if you find yourself really jonesing to see this, get to YouTube now while it’s still available.

SyFy Announces Clive Barker’s Nightbreed TV Series

SyFy Announces Clive Barker’s Nightbreed TV Series

Nicholas Vince as Kinski in Nightbreed (1990)

Nicholas Burman-Vince as Kinski in Nightbreed (1990)

Cabal, Clive Barker’s 1988 novella about a man’s struggle with self-demons and ultimate attempt to find the mythical(?) sanctuary city of Midian, is being brought to TV by SyFy, Morgan Creek Entertainment (Nightbreed (1990) directed by David Cronenberg), Universal Cable Prods, and writer Josh Stolberg,

SyFy’s Nightbreed will explore race relations in the US using the human-monster dichotomy displayed throughout the novella. The story will follow a group of subterranean monster-humans forced to find another place to live after their home is destroyed.

Doug Bradley as Dirk Lylesberg in Nightbreed (1990)

Doug Bradley as Dirk Lylesbergi in Nightbreed (1990)

Before I continue, I want to talk a bit about the movie Nightbreed, which gets some criticism, but should it? For me, I had a difficult time relating to the protagonist because of the casting choice and likewise his girlfriend. However, every other performance blew me away. I have mixed feelings. It’s nothing against either of the actors; they just didn’t click with me. Watch and decide for yourself.

Horror TV series are popular right now, The Walking Dead is still going in spite of the departure of Andrew Lincoln, Ash vs Evil Dead was doing well but not well enough for Starz, I (okay, borderline horror for the younger set) seems popular, Supernatural still pushing it on Netflix, and scores more. But, people are dropping cable packages to watch online. What does this say for the possibility of a win with this one?

Simon Bamford as Ohnaka with friend in Nightbreed (1990)

Simon Bamford as Ohnaka with friend in Nightbreed (1990)

From to the names attached, we can be cautiously hopeful. David Robinson, President of Morgan Creek Entertainment Group, seems quite optimistic:

There has never been a more relevant time for us to turn to one of the genre’s great cult classics from our movie library to impact the national conversation with bold, compelling and unconventional storytelling. The team at Morgan Creek is very excited to partner with Clive Barker, Syfy and Universal Cable Productions on Nightbreed for a unique, trenchant and no-holds-barred exploration of race relations in today’s society. As a sophisticated twist on the classic graphic novel form, Nightbreed pits ‘Humans’ against persecuted monsters, using metaphor and parable to take on bias and prejudice with real-world consequences.

Maybe we can be a little more than cautiously optimistic. Star Trek managed to address these issues with a great deal of success.

David Cronenberg in Nightbreed (1990)

David Cronenberg as Dr. Philip K. Decker in Nightbreed (1990)

Keep your claws crossed. I am.

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR NEWS, REMAKES AND REBOOTS, 0 comments
WiHM Interview: The Inimitable Barbie Wilde

WiHM Interview: The Inimitable Barbie Wilde

Woofer here, Souls, and it’s my great pleasure to introduce this interview. When discussing Women in Horror Month with my assistant editor Spencer, we decided that as fans of Hellraiser – both as the Books of Blood and the film franchise – we would be completely remiss if we didn’t reach out to Barbie Wilde. Being both talented and gracious, she consented to be interviewed and is our final focus for Women in Horror Month.

Barbie Wilde - Female Cenobite Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

Well, that’s enough of my yammering. You’re all here to find out more about the lovely, talented, and kind Barbie Wilde, so keep on reading.
House of Tortured Souls: Did you ever think you would become a horror icon?
Barbie Wilde: I never did… And it’s a bit ironic that I nearly didn’t go to the audition for Hellbound Hellraiser II, because I found the first Hellraiser film so disturbing. (Although I did love the character of Julia. I’m a sucker for obsession! And the Cenobites were such original and unusual monsters.)
However, I’ve very glad that I did go, obviously. Being in Hellbound was a great experience and, speaking as a short blonde person, I’m truly thrilled that I’ve managed to scare so many people over the years.
HoTS: What is your favorite memory from working on Hellraiser II?
BW: Meeting Ken (Dr. Channard) Cranham for the first time. I walked up to him in full Female Cenobite makeup and costume, when he was in full Channard Cenobite makeup and costume — and on the phone to his wife as well! For some reason known only to the infernal powers below, I said: “Hi Ken, I’m Barbie. Do you want to get married and have babies called Pepper and Skipper?”
Why I thought that this was an appropriate way to introduce myself for the first time to such a venerable actor as Ken, I don’t know. Especially since he was English and had no idea that there were these famous American dolls called Barbie, Ken, Pepper and Skipper. (In Britain, the Barbie Doll equivalent is called Cindy.) In my defense, I do say this line to every “Ken” I meet, because for some strange reason, I think it’s hilarious.
Anyway, Ken was gobsmacked and whispered to his wife, “Darling, an actress is talking to me… I’ve got to go.” I apologized profusely and we’ve been good friends ever since.

The Lovely Barbie Wilde

HoTS: What was it like working with Tik and Tok?
BW: The years with Shock in the early 80s were fantastic. It was the most fun that I’ve ever had as a performer. Working with Tik and Tok was wonderful, as well as performing with Robert Pereno, LA Richards, and Carole Caplin. The high point for us was supporting Gary Numan at Wembley Arena, but we also toured with Depeche Mode and supported Ultravox as well.
HoTS: Who are some of your greatest influences?
BW: As a writer: Rod Serling, Patricia Highsmith, Clive Barker, Hemingway, Raymond Chandler, Colin Wilson.
Directors I admire are: Guillermo Del Toro, Hitchcock, Ridley Scott, the Soska Sisters, Ann Biller, Katherine Bigalow, Mary Harron, Agnieszka Smoczynska, Patty Jenkins.

Barbie Wilde's Blue Eyes - A Film By Chris Alexander

HoTS: How do you prepare for a role? Is it different for each?
BW: I approach each role in a new way. I don’t use any particular “method”. I’m very intuitive and I take a lot from the text…
HoTS: Why horror? What drew you to it?
BW: To be honest, I didn’t choose horror, horror chose me! I had moved from acting into presenting, writing and hosting TV shows when I was cast in Hellbound. It was my first horror movie. (Although I suppose being in Grizzly II: The Concert (1983) was my first appearance in a horror movie, but it was never released.)
It’s interesting, because until Paul Kane asked me to write a story for the Hellbound Hearts anthology, I was more interested in exploring the criminal mind in writing novel like my diary-of-a-serial-killer novel, The Venus Complex (published by Comet Press), than writing horror. But I had so much fun writing my Female Cenobite origin story (“Sister Cilice”) for Hellbound Hearts, that I continued writing horror, contributing short stories to various horror anthologies over the years, culminating in my illustrated, full color, short horror story collection, Voices of the Damned (published by SST Publications).

The Venus Complex (2012) by Barbie Wilde

Saying that though, I’ve always watched horror movies, ever since I was a kid, especially Sci-fi horror. Those films really shaped my twisted imagination! And TV shows like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits also made a big impression on me.
HoTS: What are your favorite horror films?
BW: I love the old black and white horrors like: The Thing From Another World (1951), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Innocents (1961), The Haunting (1963) and Night of the Demon AKA Curse of the Demon (1957). I also like visceral horror such as Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and Alien (1979). Other favorites are: American Mary (2012), Sinister (2012), Audition (1999), The Lure (2015), Cronos (1993), Mimic (1997), Crimson Peak (2015), etc. (I’m really looking forward to seeing The Shape of Water and the Soska Sisters’ reimagining of Cronenberg’s Rabid.)
HoTS: What drew you to writing? Do you prefer it to acting?
BW: I’ll always love acting, but now I prefer creating my own worlds, my own characters and my own mythologies.
HoTS: When did you realize that you wanted to dive into the arts?
BW: I was a very shy kid, but when I was cast in a school play when I was 12, I was hooked forever. People were laughing with me, rather than at me. I loved it.

Voices of the Damned (2016) by Barbie Wilde

HoTS: What is something outside of art that you’re passionate about?
BW: Wine… Margaritas… Martinis… you see a pattern here? Actually, those are just hobbies! Seriously, I’m fascinated by archeology (it was my Minor at University) and I love what’s happening in the world of science with all the innovations that are happening, medical discoveries, etc. And I’m a tech geek. I never would have guessed that I’d love gadgets so much. I suppose it’s the Star Trek fan in me!

Barbie’s books and other works:

Out now:

Voices of the Damned, an illustrated short horror story collection published by SST Publications. (Publishers Weekly: “…sensual in its brutality.” “…a delight for the darker senses.”) Each story is illustrated in full color by top artists in the horror genre, such as Clive Barker, Nick Percival, Daniele Serra, Vincent Sammy, Tara Bush, Steve McGinnis, Ben Bradford and Eric Gross.

Barbie Wilde - Female Cenobite with knife in Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

The Venus Complex, Barbie’s debut dark crime, diary-of-a-serial-killer novel, published by Comet Press. (Fangoria: “Wilde is one of the finest purveyors of erotically charged horror fiction around.”)

In pre-production:

A feature length horror film called Blue Eyes, based on a short story by Barbie. It’s co-written with Chris Alexander (Blood for Irina, Queen of Blood, Female Werewolf, Blood Dynasty, Space Vampire) and will be directed by Chris. Starring Nivek Ogre of Skinny Puppy.


Film Script: “Zulu Zombies”.
New real life horror novel, working title: The Anatomy of Ghosts.

Plans for the future:

To find a publisher for graphic novels based on Barbie’s short stories “Sister Cilice” and “Zulu Zombies”.

The Offer (2017) - Barbie Wilde

In 2017, Barbie returned to acting after 17 years in The Offer, the first episode of the horror series, Dark Ditties, produced by Cult Film Screenings.

Barbie Wilde Social Media:

Barbie Wilde - Classic Beauty

Posted by Alan Smithee in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
History of Horror in March

History of Horror in March

Join House of Tortured Souls as we celebrate significant dates in the history of horror in March. Click on thumbnails for full images.

March 1 - 7

03/01/1974 – Blood for Dracula released theatrically

19740301_Blood_for_Dracula-Italian-poster / Fair use doctrine.

19740301_Fleshforfrankensteinposter / Fair use doctrine.

03/01/1974 – Flesh for Frankenstein released theatrically

1933 – King Kong (1933) released theatrically

19330302_Kingkong33newposter / Fair use doctrine.

20000303_Castlevania_Legacy_of_Darkness / Fair use doctrine.

03/03/2000 – Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness released on the Nintendo 64 in Europe

03/03/2004 – Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital premieres on television

20040303_Khospitalpic / Fair use doctrine.

19220304_Nosferatuposter / Fair use doctrine.

03/04/1922 – Nosferatu released theatrically

03/04/1965 – Paul W. S. Anderson (director of several horror films) born

19650304_800px-Paul_W._S._Anderson_by_Gage_Skidmore / Fair use doctrine.

19990304_Silent_Hill_video_game / Fair use doctrine.

03/04/1999 – Silent Hill released on the PlayStation in Japan

03/05/1943 – Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man released theatrically

19430305_298px-Frankenstein_Meets_the_Wolf_Man_movie_poster / Fair use doctrine.

19540305_800px-Creature_from_the_Black_Lagoon_poster / Fair use doctrine.

03/05/1954 – Creature from the Black Lagoon released theatrically

03/07/1946 – The Mask of Diijon released theatrically

19460307_Mask_of_diijon_poster_small / Fair use doctrine.

20030307_Rezerobox / Fair use doctrine.

03/07/2003 – Resident Evil 0 released on the Nintendo GameCube in Europeborn

March 8 - 14

03/08/1972 – Tales from the Crypt released theatrically

19720308_Tales_from_the_crypt_film_poster / Fair use doctrine.

20050308_Rings / Fair use doctrine.

03/08/2005 – Rings released on DVD

03/10/1997 – Buffy the Vampire Slayer begins its run on television

19970310_Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer_title_card / Fair use doctrine.

20060310_The_Hills_Have_Eyes_2006-film / Fair use doctrine.

03/10/2006 – The Hills Have Eyes (2006) released theatrically

03/11/1931 – F.W. Murnau (director of Nosferatu) dies (b. 1888)

19310311_F._W._Murnau_circa_1920-1930 / Fair use doctrine.

19970311_Castlevania_Legends / Fair use doctrine.

03/11/1997 – Castlevania Legends released on the Game Boy in North America

03/11/1999 – Castlevania 64 released on the Nintendo 64 in Japan

19970311_Castlevania_Legends / Fair use doctrine.

19990312_RageCarrie2 / Fair use doctrine.

03/12/1999 – The Rage: Carrie 2 released theatrically

03/13/1942 – The Ghost of Frankenstein released theatrically

19420313_220px-The_Ghost_of_Frankenstein_movie_poster / Fair use doctrine.

19810313_The_howling / Fair use doctrine.

03/13/1981 – The Howling released theatrically

03/13/1987 – Evil Dead II released theatrically

19870313_Evil_Dead_II_poster / Fair use doctrine.

19960313_Lucio-Fulci / Fair use doctrine.

03/13/1996 – Lucio Fulci (director of several horror films) dies (b. 1927)

03/14/2003 – Willard (2003) released theatrically

20030314_Willard_2003movie / Fair use doctrine.

March 15 - 21

19430315_220px-David_Cronenberg_2012-03-08 / Fair use doctrine.

03/15/1943 – David Cronenberg (director of numerous horror films) born

03/15/2002 – Resident Evil released theatrically in the United States

20020315_Resident_evil_ver4 / Fair use doctrine.

19250316_Themonster1925poster / Fair use doctrine.

03/16/1925 – The Monster released theatrically

03/16/1995 – Alone in the Dark 3 released on PC and Mac

19950306_Alone_in_the_Dark_3_cover / Fair use doctrine.

19430317_Iwalkedwithazombie / Fair use doctrine.

03/17/1943 – I Walked with a Zombie released theatrically

03/17/1994 – Castlevania: Bloodlines released on the Sega Genesis in North America

19940317_Castlevania_Bloodlines / Fair use doctrine.

20000317_Finaldestination / Fair use doctrine.

03/17/2000 – Final Destination released theatrically

03/18/1950 – Brad Dourif (actor who portrays Chucky in the Child’s Play films) born

19500318_Brad_Dourif / Fair use doctrine.

19940318_250px-Castlevania_Bloodlines / Fair use doctrine.

03/18/1994 – Castlevania: Bloodlines released on the Sega Mega Drive in Japan

03/18/2005 – The Ring Two released theatrically

20050318_Ring_two_ver2 / Fair use doctrine.

20050318_Resi4-gc-cover / Fair use doctrine.

03/18/2005 – Resident Evil 4 released for the Nintendo GameCube in Europe

03/19/2004 – Dawn of the Dead (2004) released theatrically

20040319_Dawn_of_the_Dead_2004_movie / Fair use doctrine.

19640320_2000maniacs / Fair use doctrine.

03/20/1964 – Two Thousand Maniacs! released theatrically

03/20/1994 – Castlevania: Bloodlines released on the Sega Genesis in Europe

19940320_Castlevania_Bloodlines / Fair use doctrine.

19970320_Castlevania_SOTN_PAL / Fair use doctrine.

03/20/1997 – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night released on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in Japan

03/21/2001 – Castlevania: Circle of the Moon released on the Game Boy Advance in Japan

20010321_Castlevania_CotM_boxart / Fair use doctrine.

19250316_Themonster1925poster / Fair use doctrine.

03/21/2006 – Stay Alive released theatrically

March 22 - 28

03/22/1985 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning released theatrically

19850322_Friday_the_13th_part_V_a_new_beginning / Fair use doctrine.

19860322_Choppingmall / Fair use doctrine.

03/22/1986 – Chopping Mall released theatrically

03/22/1996 – Resident Evil released on the PlayStation in Japan

19960322_250px-Resident_Evil_1_cover / Fair use doctrine.

20020322_Blade_II_movie / Fair use doctrine.

03/22/2002 – Blade II released theatrically

03/22/2002 – The Chronicle ends its run on television

20020322_The Chronicle / Fair use doctrine.

19630323_PeterLorre / Fair use doctrine.

03/23/1964 – Peter Lorre (actor in several horror films) dies (b. 1904)

03/24/1939 – The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) released theatrically

19390324_800px-Cover_(Hound_of_Baskervilles,_1902) / Fair use doctrine.

19740324_Rhs1974kingsrd / Fair use doctrine.

03/24/1974 – The Rocky Horror Show premieres at the Roxy

03/26/1994 – System Shock released on PC and Mac

19940326_Sysshock / Fair use doctrine.

19730327_Sisters_(1973) / Fair use doctrine.

03/27/1973 – Sisters released theatrically

03/27/1986 – April Fool’s Day released theatrically

19860327_Aprilfoolsday_poster / Fair use doctrine.

19910327_Ralph Bates / Fair use doctrine.

03/271991 – Ralph Bates (actor in several Hammer horror films) dies (d. 1940)

03/28/1920 – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) released theatrically

19200328_220px-Dr_Jekyll_and_Mr_Hyde_1920_poster / Fair use doctrine.

19630328_The_Birds_original_poster / Fair use doctrine.

03/28/1963 – The Birds released theatrically

March 29 - 31

19960330_Resident_Evil_1_cover / Fair use doctrine.

03/29/1996 – Resident Evil released on the PlayStation in the United States

03/30/2000 – The Typing of the Dead released on Dreamcast and PC

20000330_TTOTD_Packshot / Fair use doctrine.

20000329_RECV_boxart / Fair use doctrine.

03/30/2000 – Resident Evil Code: Veronica released for the Dreamcast in North America

03/30/2001 – Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare released on Game Boy Color

20010330_Alone_in_the_Dark_A_New_Nightmare / Fair use doctrine.

20060331_Slithermovieposter / Fair use doctrine.
03/31/2006 – Slither released theatrically

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR HISTORY, 0 comments
Jen and Sylvia to remake Rabid

Jen and Sylvia to remake Rabid

Fans of the Twisted Twins are celebrating today with the news that Jen and Sylvia Soska will be directing the remake of David Cronenberg's Rabid. Yes, you heard that right, The Soska sisters have been picked to helm a remake to the cult classic from the king of body horror.

Jen and Sylvia Soska direct Rabid

The Twisted Twins, Jen and Sylvia Soska take aim at Rabid

The original Rabid stared 70s porn star Marilyn Chambers (Beyond the Green Door). Chambers was attempting to turn her pornographic career into a more mainstream career. The film combines zombies, vampirism and Cronenberg's trademark body horror. Chambers plays a woman injured in a motorcycle wreck and undergoes an experimental surgery. The operation appears to be a success, but Chambers soon develops a vestigial appendage in her arm pit that feeds on human blood. Those drained become ravenous zombie like creatures that spread the contagion across the country.

Rabid was one of the first of many of Cronenberg's films to reach cult status. He followed it with films like Scanners, Videodrome, The Brood, The Dead Zone and the Fly. The Fly was a remake of the classic Vincent Price horror film. More recently Cronenberg moved to more mainstream films, and even more critical acclaim with A History of Violence.

The Soska Sisters came to the attention of the horror world with their low budget hit, Dead Hooker in a Trunk. They solidified their fan base, and their legitimacy with the hit American Mary starring Katharine Isabelle (Hannibal) and Tristan Risk. They followed this success with the sequel to See No Evil, starring the WWE's Kane as Jacob Goodnight.

Jen and Sylvia Twisted Twins

Jen and Sylvia Soska, the Twisted Twins

Remakes are always a risk with horror fans. Many fans resent a favorite classic film being remade and tampered with. In general, I'm not a huge fan of horror remakes, but this seems to be a good match.

Jen and Sylvia Soska made their mark in Hollywood, with female centric films Dead Hooker and American Mary. Even their remake of See No Evil, which only got a luke warm response from many horror fans, had a strong female cast including Danielle Harris, Katharine Isabelle and Chelan Simmons. Rabid, if it follows the original to any extent will need a strong, yet vulnerable female lead, and directors who know how to handle that lead role.

Plus Cronenberg is the undisputed master of body horror. Rabid was one of his earliest forays into that subgenre. Jen and Sylvia had their greatest success, so far, with American Mary, which was a form of body horror. The biggest difference was that American Mary highlighted body modification of the medical variety, while Rabid's body mods were of a supernatural origin.

Katharine Isabelle in Jen and Sylvia Soska's American MAry

Katharine Isabelle in Jen and Sylvia Soska's American MAry

To say the Soska Sisters have a loyal and rabid fan base is an understatement. The twins repay this loyalty with true love and affection. Will the new Rabid be a critical success or reach cult status? It's way to early to tell, but the odds are it will be hit with the fans. Hopefully Jen and Sylvia can work the American Mary magic one more time.

Posted by Allen Alberson in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Brood (1979)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Brood (1979)

By Nick Durham

The Brood

When it comes to body horror, no one does it like David Cronenberg. From Shivers to Rabid to Videodrome, Cronenberg's early work could fuck with your head and make your stomach churn like no other director in the horror business. One film that often falls by the wayside, at least when it comes to casual fans of his work, is his 1979 film, The Brood. Originally reviled by critics upon its initial release, The Brood is now often recognized as an oft-maligned classic of the director's filmography. I don't know if I'd really call it a classic, but that's where we are.

Anyway, the story of The Brood revolves around a man named Frank (Art Hindle) investigating the strange therapy techniques of psychologist Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed), and the effects they are having on Frank's institutionalized wife Nola (Samantha Eggar). Nola had a very traumatic upbringing, and Frank worries for the future of their young daughter Candice (Cindy Hinds). Eventually people linked to Nola begin being attacked by groups of seemingly deformed children, all the while Frank gets closer to learning the truth of the effects that Raglan's methods have had on his wife.

While The Brood may sound like a science gone mad-style of film, it really isn't at its heart. Like many of Cronenberg's other works from this era, this film focuses on the impact of the psychological torment that one can withstand before it starts manifesting itself in a physical nature, i.e. what we all know as the body horror sub-genre. Like I said before, nobody can do body horror like Cronenberg could. We get a nasty end result to everything to, with a shocker of a reveal at the film's climax to boot.

Now while The Brood is well shot, very well acted, and manages to leave a bit of a lasting impression, it just doesn't have that gut-wrenching impact that Cronenberg's more well-known works manage to have. That and the fact that somehow, some way, I just have a harder time believing a story about the physical manifestations of someone's psychological rage wreaking havoc than I do a vagina-looking VCR undulating from someone's chest cavity. I don't know, call me weird I guess. No matter what, The Brood has never really hit me in the way that Shivers, Rabid, Videodrome, The Fly, or even Naked Lunch could do to me.

Criterion's Blu-ray release is wonderful, as to be expected. The film's picture and sound are phenomenal, undoubtedly the best I've seen and heard it ever. There's a new documentary about the making of the film as well as delving into Cronenberg's early work, plus a 2011 interview with Cronenberg and Fangoria's Chris Alexander. Cronenberg's 1970 film Crimes of the Future is included here as well, which is also remastered for Blu-ray capabilities. There's also an appearance of Oliver Reed on The Merv Griffin Show. I will not comment on the state of his sobriety during this appearance.

So yeah, I've never been much of a fan of The Brood to say it lightly. It's not a terrible film, not one damn bit, but I find it hard to classify it as iconic as a majority of Cronenberg's filmography is. Like I said before, maybe it's just me, but it's never effected me like it has so many others. Either way, if you're a fan of this film, pick up this Blu-ray for the features alone.

Rating: 3/5


Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Videodrome (1983)

By Nick Durham


It's really hard to say anything about David Cronenberg's classic Videodrome that hasn't been said a million fucking times already. It remains one of the director's crowning achievements in a filmography that features a number of classics, as well as a classic of body horror. The fact that Criterion decided to add this film to their prestigious lineup (that somehow also includes Michael Bay's Armageddon... no, I'll never understand that) speaks to the lasting effect that Videodrome has had on all of us.

James Woods, in the most unnerving performance of his long career, stars as Max Renn, the proprietor of a sleazy cable TV network that specializes in softcore porn and hardcore violence. He stumbles upon a feed for a mysterious pirate broadcast of torture and murder called Videodrome, and it isn't long before Max starts losing his mind...or does he? The thing with Videodrome is that you keep questioning yourself as to what you're seeing unfold on screen. Is it real? Is it in Max's head? Is Debbie Harry really so goddamned sexy? These are the questions you'll be asking yourself throughout the film's running time.

I could talk more about the film's intricate story and plot, or about Rick Baker's disgusting and groundbreaking effects work, but instead I'm going to focus on the special features of this Criterion Blu-ray release. They are pretty much identical to the special features included on the DVD release from years back, which is absolutely fine because they were wonderful then and are wonderful now. The film is presented here in all its uncut glory with a beautifully restored picture. There's commentary from Cronenberg as well as Woods and Harry, Cronenberg's short film Camera from 2000, documentaries and interviews, complete footage of the Samurai Dreams softcore flick that Max views in the beginning of the film, and a vintage roundtable discussion between Cronenberg, John Landis, John Carpenter, and Mick Garris. All these features make this disc more than worth its price tag.

I know I've gushed before about releases from Arrow Films and Grindhouse Releasing, saying that they are the Criterion Collection for horror films, and that remains the absolute truth. That being said, there's nothing quite like a Criterion Collection release, and their release of Videodrome is something spectacular indeed. Do yourself a favor and pick it up ASAP. You won't regret it.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 1 comment