Stephen King

Netflix Releases In The Tall Grass

Today saw the release on Netflix of the Stephen King and Joe Hill film adaptation of the novella In The Tall Grass.

This Netflix adaptation is Directed by Vincenzo Natali. Natali’s fans are familiar with his prior work on films such as Cube, and Splice. Natali also wrote the screenplay, based on the novella.

Screenplay Writer/ Director Vincenzo Natali

The story of In The Tall Grass follows a brother and sister who whilst travelling to San Diego, stop near a mysterious field of extremely tall grass. As they stop they hear a voice crying for help. As they venture into the Tall Grass, the duo realise that all is not as it seems and something lurks within the grass of a sinister nature.

I won’t reveal more, as I really enjoyed it and to aid you in enjoying it I think knowing less is best about the outcome. I will say however that Natali compiles the source material brilliantly, and though the ending differs from the Novella, it’s not disheartening that they changed it.

The film stars Laysla De Oliveira and Avery Whitted as Becky and Cal Demuth.

Laysla De Oliveira as Becky

Laysla De Oliveira is convincing as Becky. She’s expecting her first child and unsure of her future as she travels with her brother to decide the fate of her unborn child (will she keep the baby or put it up for adoption?). As our tormented and exhausted maze runner, Oliveira shows an array of emotions through the film and creates a likeable and engaging character on screen, as Becky. Known for minor television roles, Oliveira is truly coming into her element in In The Tall Grass and her role as Veronica in Guest Of Honor (released last month, and starring David Thewlis and Luke Wilson).

Avery Whitted as Cal

As Becky’s Irish Twin (in the book it’s explained their ages are so close that Becky and Cal are like twins in age), Cal is the more mindful one. Avery Whitted is fresh on the screen, his prior credit only being The Vanishing Of Sidney Hall in 2017. The dramatic mystery starred Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Nathan Lane, And Tim Blake Nelson. As Cal, Whitted gives a notable performance but is still finding his screen presence. We feel for Cal of course but at times I found his performance unconvincing.

Becky’s estranged love interest and baby daddy Travis McKean is played by Harrison Gilbertson. Gilbertson is an Australian actor known for extremely well known prior roles in the recent Picnic at Hanging Rock television series, Leigh Whannel’s Upgrade, Ben Young’s Hounds Of Love, aswell as in films such as Need for Speed, Beneath Hill 60, and Look Away.

Gilbertson is easy to empathise with. When he enters the film, what we are already perplexed by becomes even more elaborate. And it’s Travis who works hard to unravel the Tall grasses mysterious behaviours. Gilbertson does wonderfully to hold certain elements of the film’s encounters together.

Harrison Gilbertson, Laysla De Oliveira, and Avery Whitted

Also starring in In The Tall Grass is Patrick Wilson (who replaced James Marsden after scheduling conflicts) as Ross Humboldt and Will Buie Jr and Rachel Wilson as his son and wife, Tobin and Natalie.

Patrick Wilson as Ross

Wilson is incredibly well known for his roles throughout the last decade in the Insidious, Conjuring, Annabelle and The Nun Films – totalling 7 films (including in the role of Ed Warren, husband of Lorraine Warren the paranormal investigator). Wilson has an impressive body of work over the last two decades and doesn’t let fans down in this film. Stepping away from his usual roles, we get to see a differing side in this performance and he truly makes the film, in a very pivotal role as Ross Humboldt.

Will Buie Jr as Tobin

As Wilson’s son Tobin Humboldt is twelve year old Will Buie Jr. This sharp child actor  has only been acting in films and on television for two years, but his performance in In The Tall Grass is the second most impressive (after only Patrick Wilson’s) in this film. We feel for poor Tobin and we understand his attempts to warn others and avoid the horrors lurking in the Tall Grass. We empathise as the film churns on and we learn more and more about Tobin’s plight, because of Buie’s amazing performance.

Patrick Wilson, Harrison Gilbertson and Laysla De Oliveira

Lastly is Rachel Wilson as Natalie Humboldt. We see less of her in the film than we do of the other five principal cast members, but when she appears she always brings something more about the story with her. This proves her character to be very valuable, and her portrayal as interesting. Wilson is a well known Canadian actress having starred in films such as The Glass House, Saw: The Final Chapter And Hellions.

In the Tall Grass as a whole is a brilliant adaptation of the source material. The creepiness and disillusionment Of each character is strong.

The cinematography is beautiful. Watching each blade of grass wave in the breeze or crane as though listening, reminds one easily of the rows of corn in The Children of the Corn films. The instances of despairing isolation and dizzying bewilderment, cast us back to Kubrick’s take on the Shining in 1980. We get lost in this grassy maze and it’s wonders, both good and bad.

Natali has created an almost perfect film with In The Tall Grass, fans will be impressed by the way it evolves smoothly. As we transition through each scene into the next, until we reach the climax. As I said this differed from the source material. It’s okay. It’s not great but it fits for the film, that’s really all I can say.

Posted by Michelle MIDI Peifer in Categories, 0 comments

What’s Coming and Going on Netflix in October?

Many are already enjoying the delights of Netflix and gearing up for their horror fix through the Halloween month. I won’t be listing everything available through October, but I’m here to let you know some of the most intriguing and fun movies and shows that will be coming and going throughout October on Netflix.

Leaving Netflix in October will be Casper, Cloverfield, Deliverance, Gremlins, Obsessed and The Nightmare. So be sure to get your chance to view them one last time in the next 48hrs.

 

OCTOBER 4th

On October 4th Netflix will be adding Creeped Out season 2, a British/Canadian Horror Anthology tv series focused on creepy stories. This is a great chance to binge watch both seasons, if you haven’t acquainted yourself with it yet.

Also on October 4th comes the release of the adaptation of the Stephen King/ Joe Hill Novella In The Tall Grass. Directed by Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Splice) and starring Patrick Wilson, this is a dramatic mystery sure to thrill fans.

OCTOBER 11th

Japanese Director Sion Sono (Tag) newest film will debut on Netflix on October 11th. Forest of Love is a crime, thriller about a con man serial killer who meets his match.

Also on October 11th we will see the release of Fractured. An American thriller , by director Brad Anderson and starring Australian actor Sam Worthington (Avatar, Terminator Salvation) and Lily Rabe (American Horror Story). The film is a Hitchcockian style thriller, about a man searching for his wife and daughter.

Season two of Haunted appears on Netflix to chill you through October. Season one featured Filmmaker Jason Hawkins (The Blair Witch Legacy) in one episode. It was also the cause of much controversy over an episode of two sisters, claiming their father was a serial killer (Slaughterhouse Episode). Most of us will be curious of what stories will be told this season and will there be more controversial episodes?

OCTOBER 18th

October 18th provides us with Eli. Starring Lili Taylor (The Conjuring, The Haunting) and Directed by  Ciaran Foy (Citadel, Sinister 2) , the plot revolves around a boy who becomes trapped in a house while undergoing treatment for a rare disease.

OCTOBER 24th

Less scary, more humorous comes Daybreak on October 24th. This ten episode dramatic comedy focuses on a Mad Max style apocalyptic scenario and zombies. Starring Matthew Broderick (Ladyhawke, The Cable Guy), this series was adapted from the Brian Ralph graphic novel.

Also on the 24th comes Revenge of Pontianak. This Singaporean/ Malayan language romantic horror uses the south Asian folklore of the Pontianak (a woman who dies with child or during childbirth without a proper funeral, that returns as a vampire). In this film a woman and her village are terrorised by a Pontianaks arrival, as it seeks to take revenge on the guy she loves.

 

OCTOBER 25th

Lastly on the 25th Rattlesnake will be available on Netflix. This psychological thriller is about a woman who saves her daughter after being bitten by a rattlesnake, by taking on the “debt” of killing a total stranger. It is directed by Zac Hilditch (The Final Hours, 1922).

 

For the Younger Viewers this month:

Yes there’s a little spooky fun for the younger crowd within your homes (or even those young at heart),  including some additions to the animated Spooky Monsters with season 3 and Vida’s 1st Halloween Special, On October 4th.

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On the 5th comes the Spooky Tale Of Captain Underpants Hack-O-Ween. Many kids love the adventures of this Underpants clad animated superhero and this instalment is just in time for Halloween.

And finally October 17th introduces The Unlisted, an Australian teen series focused on twelve year old twin boys, who discover that the government is secretly tracking and manipulating the youth via electronic tracking devices.

 

Many horror films and shows already are available on Netflix, so don’t forget during the Spooky season about them too. Happy Halloween viewings. Time for some real Netflix and Chills.

Posted by Michelle MIDI Peifer in Categories, 0 comments
RAKKHOSH- India’s First POV Thriller.

RAKKHOSH- India’s First POV Thriller.

As a fan of foreign films, I was excited recently when I was contacted by Creative Producer  Prashen Kyawal about the release of the Indian thriller Rakkhosh. Rakkhosh is the first Indian film using the first person Point of View (POV) technique and proved to be quite intriguing. Released on June 20th this year, it is currently available for viewing on Netflix. It is a foreign film, so it is presented in Hindi, but English subtitles are available.

With films like Hardcore Henry and Cloverfield putting POV films back in the forefront of movie goers minds, it’s easy to see its appeal to modern filmmakers. Directors Abhijit Kokate and Srivinay Salian work together to craft a brilliantly inspired fresh take on insanity.

Rakkhosh centres around a troubled asylum inmate named Birsa. Birsa is our lead and we see everything from his perspective. The story focuses on his own troubled past and how that helps confuse his grip on reality, as fellow hospital residents begin disappearing at the hands of an unknown entity.

Let me start off with the camera techniques. From rotating shots, as we follow Birsa through the Jantar Mantar (a building beside the asylum where Rakkhosh lures and claims his victims), to the frantic sweeps around the asylum itself we are easily drawn into this gritty, harrowing world of mental illness, mistreatment and mayhem.

Birsa himself seems pretty put together, considering where he is. Using his voice Namit Das does a great job conveying worry, fear, excitement and confusion. We can hear in the tone in his voice how Birsa feels. And through the limited vision of his movements we can see what he endures.

Birsa’s only friend is Kumar John. An older inmate portrayed by Sanjay Mishra. Mishra works tirelessly to play the lovable, cheeky self professed mystic (often its his Dashavstar Ganjifa  cards that predict each victim). Mishra moves around smoothly, making Das’ movements with him equally graceful, creating a connection between the characters that is genuine and relatable.

Also in this ensemble cast is Priyanka Bose who stars as Kumar Johns “daughter” Ridhidima (who Birsa mistrusts frequently and refers to her as “Fake Daughter”, allowing you to question her motives and actual character). Bose is a very talented actress and known previously for her role in Lion, the Oscar nominated and BAFTA winning film from 2016 starring Dev Patal. Bose plays an investigative journalist trying to cease the disappearances fantastically, but balances that role well with her other of concerned “daughter” of Kumar John.

Tannishtha Chatterjee shines beautifully as Birsa’s well meaning sister Shoma. Chatterjee does amazingly to convey that Shoma does all she can for her sick brother, and in the film’s climax we see the lengths she has gone to to help him.

Mental Nurse Kalima’s amazingly menacing and superbly evilly wide eyed portrayal from Sanomani Jayant, stands out as one you can really enjoy. Jayant is cool, calm and collected with the perfect dash of aggression as the asylums unkind nurse.

The incredibly corrupted Dr Idris Shah is brought to life by Barun Chanda. Chanda is a known seasoned actor in India and is well known for his debut starring role in the Satyajit Ray social drama  Seemabaddha (1971). Chanda works hard throughout the film, to portray the doctor as being little involved in the ill deeds  undertaken in his asylum. Chanda’s ability to demonstrate his capabilities is strong, as truths are revealed and we see more and more of his characters greedy ways.

I liken Chanda’s character and portrayal strongly to that of a combination of both Dr Berrisford (played by Harris Yulin) in the 1988 film Bad Dreams, and Dr Frederick Chilton ( played by Anthony Heald) in The Silence of the Lambs/ Red Dragon Films.

Also worthy of mentioning is Atul Mahale, who plays Swapnil. Mahale navigates his role as the easily bribed corrupt class three officer well and adds to the swirling unease of the film.

Rakkhosh is very lengthy for its style and subject matter and could easily be shaved of a few minutes here and there, but otherwise the development of the plot and direction by Abhijit Kokate and Srivinay Salian is spot on in enticing the viewers to watch on more and more as the film progresses.

Dinesh Gopal was the editor of Rakkhosh, who worked tirelessly on creating the believable aesthetic that became Birsa’s first person point of view. It was through Gopal’s editing that he used various techniques to  humanise the character of Birsa. From when Birsa would open and close his eyes by fading to black in such a way , or even blurring the images to convey when he was dizzy. These helped the narrative stay perfect in its first person POV for the viewer and steady the combination of illogical and logical  going ons throughout the film.

The film Rakkhosh was produced by Sayali And Santosh Deshpande, who helm SD Motion Pictures.

It’s also to be noted that the first person Cinematographer was Basile Pierrat, who is known for a style which elicits the same style of first person story telling. Pierrat is a well known French filmmaker, who explores music videos, commercials and short and feature films.

Srivinay Salian is also the writer of the screenplay for Rakkhosh. He adapted the story from a famous Marathi Language novel by prominent Indian horror writer Narayan Dharap. Dharap was also responsible for the novel Tumbbad, which has since also been made into a film. Dharap is often referred to the Indian equivalent of Stephen King.

As always I will not reveal any more to avoid providing spoilers, but I do encourage all fans of unique thrillers to check out  Rakkhosh on their Netflix.

 

Posted by Michelle MIDI Peifer in Categories, 0 comments
[TRAILER] IT: CHAPTER 2. The Losers Club comes back home.

[TRAILER] IT: CHAPTER 2. The Losers Club comes back home.

Here’s your first look at the new movie coming out Sept 6th. IT: CHAPTER 2. The film is set 25 years later in the future with flashbacks to them as their younger selves. The movie is said to be brutal and with a scene using the most blood in a film ever. The stakes have never been higher not only for our beloved Losers but for fans of the book and movie.

Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.

There are even talks that this movie could surpass the 150 million opening weekend with talks from the director that he would love to do the third film. A prequel because there are stories of the past along with Pennywise’s account. Below is the trailer for the film.

Posted by Jai Alexis in CAST AND CREW NEWS, COMING SOON, EVENTS, EXCLUSIVE, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, HORROR HEROES, HORROR HISTORY, HORROR NEWS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, NEW RELEASES, PARANORMAL, PREQUELS AND SEQUELS, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, THRILLER, 0 comments
The trailer of IT: chapter 2 is here and “You’ll float again”

The trailer of IT: chapter 2 is here and “You’ll float again”

Well as promised the trailer is here for IT: Chapter 2  and even though we may have an idea on what to expect we also have to remember they may change some things around maybe stuff from the book will be in it or some stuff from the original movie. Either way we’re intrigued on the film.

The plot is pretty simple since we already know the why and how? “Twenty-seven years later, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back

Andy Muscheitti is back to direct the film along with the writer from the first film Gary Dauberman. Bill Skarsgård has said Pennywise in this one will be a lot scarier and violent. Sept 6th witness the end of IT

Posted by Jai Alexis in CAST AND CREW NEWS, Categories, COMING SOON, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, HORROR HISTORY, HORROR NEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, PARANORMAL, PREQUELS AND SEQUELS, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, THRILLER, 0 comments
New Adaption of Salem’s Lot being produced?!! (House Of Tortured Souls)

New Adaption of Salem’s Lot being produced?!! (House Of Tortured Souls)

Exciting news for all Stephen King fans, a new adaption to King’s Salem’s Lot is on the way! James Wan will be producing and Gary Dauberman (It, The Nun) will be writing the script. 

This adaption will follow the novel which was published in 1975, in which a writer returns to the town of Jerusalem’s Lot where he lived as a child, only to discover everyone that he used to know, is now a… vampire. 

Roy Lee and Mark Wolper will also produce, along with Dauberman being an executive producer. 

We will definitely follow up with more details once they are released, until then, the waiting with anticipation begins! 

Posted by Sarah Gregory in HORROR NEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REMAKES AND REBOOTS, VAMPIRES, 0 comments
Pet Sematary-Revisioning a classic

Pet Sematary-Revisioning a classic

 

Good morning people of the internet. So I had a chance to check out Pet Sematary. Or what ever the spelling is. Really, this remake was again more of a revisioning..like Evil Dead or NOES.

Horror fans are assholes, and much like metal heads. I hate being wrapped in these cocoons. Some people make us all look bad. When a new vision of something comes out the community gets all bent out of shape. Again, these are the same people that have universal monsters and hammer monsters on the same shelf.

The negative attitudes towards new things always over power us non assholes. Whom find good qualities of reformatted movies. This meaning, for months there was “controversy” in the community over this flick, due to 1) it being a remake, again..the same people that bitch about remakes are the same people that say Disturbed’s version of “land of confusion” is better than Phil Collins. The main issue of that..they think Disturbed is cool. So does their opinion really count for anything?

2) There were a couple changes to the story which comes with the territory of remakes and 9/10 times improves upon the story. Of which these SLIGHT CHANGES did infact improve upon.

In short, the movie was great, the tiny changes really made it a better movie adaptation. Instead of Gage getting hit by the truck, Ellie was the one, which actully did not affect the story at all. I’m not sure why people are saying that it did honestly yall are fucking weird. There was a splash of focus on Jud’s wife and a very cool way to include that.

Pay attention to the little things that pay homage to the original, like the truck driver. If you don’t get that part then are you even in the right place to complain about this flick? I have asked several people if they noticed.1 person knew what I was talking about.

People that complain about it yes are entitled to opinions but look at their collection before taking it into consideration. Trying to be cool doesn’t score horror brownie points. I like a classic just like the next guy, but a better version is ok to admit to like as well.

Posted by Schock in HORROR NEWS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, NEW RELEASES, REMAKES AND REBOOTS, 0 comments
‘Doctor Sleep’ Footage with Easter Egg teasers to ‘The Shining’

‘Doctor Sleep’ Footage with Easter Egg teasers to ‘The Shining’

Mike Flanagan’sDoctor Sleep” which based on the novel by Stephen King, is the sequel to his iconic novel and movie “The Shining.” The movie stars Ewan McGregor who will play an adult version of Danny Torrance portrayed as an alcoholic who attempts to get sober is hit with a reawakening on his “shining” powers. He also meets a young girl who shares the same ability he has while working at a hospice center.  

Warner Bros. showed off the first footage from the film, and it shows Danny Torrance by s campfire which is talking about how to deal with his problems which would be from decades ago. Also included in the footage was a title that said “Witness the Conclusion,“ it’s to “Doctor Sleep” being the true ending to “The Shining” saga. It was very brief footage, but it started with a shot of a car driving through the forest which is similar to how “The Shining” began and ended with Danny looking up and seeing ‘Redrum’ written on the mirror. The original music also played.

Alongside Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Carl Lumbly, and Alex Essoe are also on board in this film. 

Mike Flanagan has been one of my favorite directors lately, as he is the man behind films as Hush, Oculus, the series The Haunting Of Hill House and now Doctor Sleep will be the second King adaption that he has directed, the first being Gerald’s Game.  2019 is proving to be the year of horror, and I cannot wait to see what this film has to offer. 

Doctor Sleep is set to be released into theaters this year on November 8th.

Posted by Sarah Gregory in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, PREQUELS AND SEQUELS, PRESS RELEASES, 0 comments
Creepshow Production Started—House Of Tortured Souls

Creepshow Production Started—House Of Tortured Souls

Shudder has announced that production has begun the reboot of Creepshow. The six-episode season will be produced by The Walking Dead’s Greg Nicotero and the horror series is based off the iconic 1982 film which was written by Stephen King and directed by George A. Romero

The six-episode season will feature an unannounced Stephen King story and for right now they are saying it’s like a “survivor type” of story. 

Nicotero will direct some of this series and the other installments will be done by David Bruckner, Roxanne Benjamin, Rob Schrab, and John Harrison. Bruckner is the director of The Ritual along with Bloody Disgusting segments in V/H/S and SouthboundBenjamin has directed such segments in Bloody Disgusting’s Southbound and XX. Schrab’s directing credits goings to Ghosted and Community, and Harrison who was actually the first assistant director for George Romero on the original Creepshow movie will be directing a story that he co-wrote with Nicotero. Harrison also composed Creepshows film’s theme. 

Additional stories and directors as well as the casting will be announced later this year. Creepshow will premiere on Shudder later on in the year—no specific date as of now. 

Normally for me personally, I tend to like when they leave the classics alone however with Nicotero producing this I am curious to see the route they will go and what amount of gore they will endure. I am curious to see all the effects and Nicoyero’s Oscar and Emmy award-winning company will be handling all of the creature and make-up effects. Definitely will be opened minded and give it a chance when this becomes available on Shudder. 

 

Posted by Sarah Gregory in ANTHOLOGY, Categories, COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, PREQUELS AND SEQUELS, PRESS RELEASES, 0 comments
Summer of 84

Summer of 84

My initial feelings about Summer of 84 was this is Stranger Things the movie. It wasn’t until the last 15 minutes that my opinion changed.

***This review will contain spoilers***

The film relies heavily on the nostalgia factor. The first shot is of 80s sneakers on the metal shin breaking pedals of a BMX bike. We get to reminisce about the fashions, the GI Joe walkie talkies, paper routes and simpler times. It’s almost a formulaic coming of age film that was heavily influenced by Stand by Me and The Losers Club (It). The characters are textbook, you have the geeky kid Curtis (Cory Guter-Andrew), the bad kid with a rough home life Tommy (Judah Lewis), the fat kid Woody (Caleb Emery), the smart kid Davey (Graham Verchere) and the girl next door Nikki (Tiera Skovbye from Riverdale). They each fit perfectly into a template.

The four outcast boys and the girl next door embark on a summer adventure together. A serial killer is on the loose in their town and they begin to put the clues together. Davey becomes convinced the killer is his neighbor a police officer named Wayne Mackey (Rich Sommer). They begin following Mackey around, break into his shed and dig up his garden. They discover a bloody shirt that they believe belonged to one of the missing kids. They go to Davey’s parents with the evidence and his parents are  outraged and make the boys apologize to Mackey. Davey still believes Mackey is the killer and convinces the others to help him break into a locked room in Makeys basement and record evidence. Here they discover the body of one of the missing kids and save a boy who was being held captive. As they’re leaving, they notice all the pictures on the wall are of his victims and there is a picture of Davey’s family implying he was going to be the next victim. They go to the police and a manhunt is issued to find Mackey. Woody spends the night at Davey’s and Mackey shows up in the middle of the night to kidnap them. A couple of major holes in the story at this point, I feel are why the hell no police detail was put outside Davey’s home and why the fuck no one noticed all the victim’s pictures hanging in his house. What kind of experienced serial killer especially a cop keeps his trophies in plain sight?!

From the time they break into the basement the movies tone completely changes, it goes from being a fluffy adventure to Gacy’s basement. The movie flips a switch and it gets fucking dark. Up until this point I didn’t realize how invested in the characters I was. When Mackey kidnaps the boys, he takes them to the woods and hunts them. They discover a huge pile of bodies in various stages of decay and Woody says how he can’t die he has to take care of his mom. Davey heroically tells him to run for the car while he distracts Mackey. Mackey catches poor Woody and slits his throat. It’s graphic and it sits with you like watching your childhood friend die. I wasn’t prepared for it because up until 4 minutes ago I was watching a completely different movie. While I was still wrapping my head around Woody’s death, Mackey captures Davey and rather than killing him he tells him he wants him to think about him. He’s going to kill him one day, but until that day comes, he’ll always have to be looking over his shoulder waiting. The ending is Davey riding his bike through town, where we see Nikki leaving forever and Tommy and Curtis no longer appear to be his friend possibly resenting him for the death of Woody. He says “every serial killer is someone’s neighbor” roll credits and we’re left to digest what the hell just happened.

Overall, I’d say it’s a good movie. It’s not original in its characters or plot, but the tone was something fresh. I was lulled into a false sense of security before being smashed in the emotions.

Posted by Candace Stone in Categories, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
MIDI’S COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN 2018

MIDI’S COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN 2018

Each year I Countdown to Halloween and explore 31 Horror films that examine a variety of sub genres. I combine films both new and old. I explore the mainstream and indie. And I select from purely the good, bad and ugly (yes there are some truly awful films available to fans for laughs).

This year  I will be explaining each film for the House of Tortured Souls as I countdown to Halloween. Be warned that some of the small pieces on each film, are based on a sub genre and may in fact provide a spoiler or two.
OCTOBER 1
First sub genre I had set myself is to find a film with a Child Vampire. I chose  30 Days of Night  which has a scene involving a young girl vampire, in a pack that has over run the town of Barrow, Alaska.  Obvious other choices were Interview With A Vampire and Near Dark.
OCTOBER 2
On day two I was exploring films with people who could be considered Freaks so this time I selected The Abominable Dr Phibes
starring Vincent Price, as a mutant mourning his beloved.
Although Freaks by Tod Browning is my fave film in this vein, Phibes was the first horror film I saw when I was 3. It will forever be imbedded in my memory.
OCTOBER 3
Taking it to another level on day three, I wanted to find a film involving the strangest or most unique Horror Parents . This led me to select  It’s Alive (movie)for obvious reasons . Let’s face it , that kid had a face only a mother could love! A mutated baby literally is born and goes on the run leaving a wake of murderous terror. Not only is this film awesome fun, it also spawned 2 sequels and a remake!!
OCTOBER 4
I investigated the infamous adoration for films with that ultimate Twist Ending, selecting the Summer Camp Classic Sleepaway Camp
This of course was one of many options but discovering what is “wrong with Angela” is always great. Other possibilities are films like The Perfect Getaway (in which the twist is revealed midway through the film, yet doesn’t ruin the pace). Also included could be The Sixth Sense, And Switchblade Romance (aka Haute Tension).
OCTOBER 5

For my selective viewing for an impressive Indie horror film was Phil Stevens Flowers.The film is silent. It has such

Hereditary

strong visual imagery and features the demise of a group of beautiful women (the flowers themselves). Stevens is currently in production on Flowers 2.

OCTOBER 6
Was the sub genre of crime as told through the True Story narrative, I chose the film Dear Mr. Gacy. This film is inspired by the Jason Moss’ book The Last Victim. Moss discusses a relationship he created with the serial killer as he studied him in college. It is also sad to know that Moss was so affected, by the stranglehold Gacy ended up having on his life.  His psyche was fractured and in 2006 Moss committed suicide. I highly recommend the book as well as this film. It proves the power of those with such depraved impulses as Gacy.
OCTOBER 7
I was was trying to avoid the usually popular picks for the sub genre of Sea Creatures. I wanted to avoid The Deep, Jaws and Orca. Instead I landed on the highly memorable and classic Universal icon the Creature from the Black Lagoon
OCTOBER 8
A simple sub genre in which of course A LOT of possibilities popped up, to view limbs replaced with weapons. For me this is a film I enjoy, in its true GrindHouse style. It has a strong female lead, that pulled me in. With the teaming of Tarantino and Rodriguez , I had to go with the machine gun leg of Rose McGowan in Planet Terror
OCTOBER 9

The selection as a huge foreign film fan was tricky, and I had to find one Asian Horror film. In the past I have enjoyed the likes of Ringu, JuOn, Phone, The Red Shoes, One Missed Call and Shutter. However I felt a revisit to the

Train To Busan

surprise runaway Zombie hit  Train To Busan was a good idea- and having only seen it once upon release, I wanted to see if it still was as enjoyable (which it is).

OCTOBER 10
This day was Lloyd Kaufman’s empire known affectionately as Troma films, I had to try and find one that I loved to watch as my choice from their stock. This was easy as I love the campy cheesy quality of a good Troma film , from Poultrygeist to Tromeo and Juliet. I decided on One of Troma’s most lucrative franchises with the lovable film  The Toxic Avenger
OCTOBER 11
I realised some franchises have MORE than their fair share. From Nightmare on Elm St (9 films), Friday the 13th (12 films) , or even Halloween ( 11 films) many sequels were imaginable, but for me my taste was drawn to the Children of the Corn Franchise (which has 10 films with the release of Runaway in recent months). Out of those sequels (and a remake) I chose Children of the Corn 666: Issac’s Return, because it is the first film after the original to reintroduce Isaac – one of the horror film worlds most messed up child preachers in history.
OCTOBER 12
For European horror my mind raced straight to  Mörderische Ferien (aka Flashback:A Murderous Vacation), a quirky German teen horror film, that featured campy gags, a psycho on the loose, bumbling cops and some fun kills. If you haven’t seen it before, it’s a diamond in the rough and I liken it’s cheekiness to the original Scream film by Wes Craven.
OCTOBER 13
I was tasked with finding a horror movie starring Robert England, but It had to be anything but his role as Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street films. With options like 2001 Maniacs and Urban Legends available I recalled The Mangler and viewed that. A film based on a short story from Stephen Kings  collection, that has since inspired two sequels.
OCTOBER 14
Horror Creatures dominated the day, so I thought long and hard about all sorts and settled on  Zombeavers. A simple comical romp with manic beavers at a lake side cabin, and a group of foolish college kids.
OCTOBER 15

Pinnochios Revenge

I decided on a film for my ghostly theme, with a classic spooky story featuring George.C.Scott called The Changeling .

This was my favourite pick for the ghastly ghost genre and although I enjoy films like the original version of The Haunting, Rose Red an others with various paranormal entities, The Changeling is an atmospheric joy to rewatch.
OCTOBER 16
An obvious choice for day 16’s infamous horror hotel themed entry , was to go with the mother loving Norman Bates insanity of Alfred Hitchcock’s PsychoPsycho epitomizes the horror hotel themes, with the “mother” of all memorable moments, but I will give shout outs to other possibilities such as Horror Hotel, Motel Hell, And Room 1408 ( which has actually been picked for another sub genre day in this challenge).
OCTOBER 17
Re examining the Psychotic Hitchhiker sub genre for day 17, I decided against the classic Hitchhiker films or even The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and went with a modern Ozploitation thriller called Gone (aka Middle of Nowhere). The film starred Scott Mechlowicz , Amelia Warner and Shaun Evans and followed an American and two British tourists backpacking in Australia with deadly consequences.
OCTOBER 18
The 18th choice calls for me to watch  a 2017 Film and I thought this was a perfect chance for me to re explore one that had a dismal run cinematically upon its release. I found it to be an entertaining and seemingly good film, but The Dark Tower  was a far cry from the nature of the original source material developed over many books by Stephen King.
OCTOBER 19
My 19th watch is a film released in 2018, so I thought I would take this opportunity to return to Hereditary. Originally when I saw this film it was such a slow build intro I lost interest and was unable to finish it so I hope as I do so I will complete it today.
OCTOBER 20
I will turn to Horror with a number in the title. With many options open to me I looked at 2001 Maniacs, Germany’s 666: In Bed With The Devil And found Stephen Kings Room 1408. An interesting and twisted story of a hotel room from Hell, this is a great little film with a strong cast.
OCTOBER 21
I needed  a film with a strong female killer. I will be avoiding  Switchblade Romance, Mothers Day, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Fatal Attraction. Instead I feel that Guillermo Del Toros psychotic sister in his film Crimson Peak was a great choice – and I am a huge fan of this film and it’s themes throughout.
OCTOBER 22
The 22nd for me is the most fun sub genre and one of the lesser appreciated, Disney Horror! Yes these films actually were made , exist and are awesome fun to horror fans. You can go for the slightly thrilling or the fun and goofy kids fodder. I went with the latter . My favourite Disney Horror is actually Something Wicked This Way Comes, that starred  freakishly awesome Johnathan Pryce in the role as Mr Dark. However I wanted a calmer, shorter film for my viewing and went with Richard Masur (best known as Adult Stanley Uris in the 1990 IT miniseries) in the film Mr Boogedy. It also has a sequel ,as they were hugely popular films during my childhood.
OCTOBER 23
Joyfully I found my 23rd film choice at this years Sydney Film Festival, when I attended a screening for the Supernatural New Zealand film The Changeover. With a young fresh cast and some more familiar faces (Timothy Spall and Melanie Lynskey), it is a strange and yet engaging story of a girl coming into her powers and using them to save her family from an evil force.
OCTOBER 24
I attended the premiere screening of my 24th film in Sydney at MonsterFests Travelling Sideshow. And it was such a powerfully musical film I had to use it for Best Soundtrack. The Strangers 2: Prey At Night didn’t have to try too hard to impress, with the delightful antics of our insane trio on screen being played out to 80s hits with gusto!
OCTOBER 25
On the 25th I will avoid the predictability of Dolls, Chucky, Annabelle , Puppetmaster or Demonic Toys for the Doll/toy Horror film. Instead I am returning to view an oldie that I have enjoyed before, called The Pinocchio Syndrome (aka Pinnochios Revenge). It’s about an evil Pinocchio puppet that once you cut his strings becomes a killer.
OCTOBER 26
My usual pick for the Worst Horror film for day 26 is abysmal
Dracula 3000 ,and if you have seen it you’d understand. This year I thought I would go with one, that I often refer to as the BEST film for drinking games. It is called Grim Weekend (aka S.I.C.K). Grim Weekend and follows a hopeless bunch, who venture off on a mini break and are beseeched by a psychotic clown. Sounds fun right? Sadly this film has a score that is cheesy, effects that are lame and a cast so utterly annoying it is only good for games. Have the shots ready and let’s play.
OCTOBER 27
On the 27th I will inspect the aspect of Horror Tv Episodes with We All Scream for Ice Cream (Masters of Horror episode). It is an impresssive part of a large collection done by talented directors. This anthology series has some intriguing storyline’s and very colourful characters.
OCTOBER 28
For the 28th I needed to focus on choosing a film that had Great Poster Art. I couldn’t ignore the awesome screaming, burning human on the cover of David Croenenbergs 1981 supernatural horror film Scanners. Any artistic eye can see the beauty in that image, as much as any other.
OCTOBER 29
My least enjoyed sub genre is the Found Footage one. So on the 29th having to pick one from the few I enjoy was taxing. Being able to sift through some good ones I like, such as Afflicted and Cannibal Holocaust, I remembered the immensely impressive  The Poughkeepsie Tapes.
OCTOBER 30
Being the youngest of three children obviously for horror siblings, my immediate thought was my brothers (just kidding and yes they know I love them dearly). No instead I selected the classic black and white film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? starring feuding actresses (and on screen sisters) Bette Davis And Joan Crawford.
OCTOBER 31
To round out my viewing pleasure this month, I will end on a more jovial note with a horror musical. I put aside my usual fun choices of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Shock Treatment, Repo: A Genetic Opera or even Little Shop Of Horrors. Instead I opted for 2014’s Stage Fright.
I always encourage others to explore a variety of films when embarking on creating a watchlist. Watch as much of the things you don’t get to. Watch new films. Watch old films. Watch films from various parts of the world. And always include the good,the bad and the ugly.
And have a Happy Halloween!
Posted by Michelle MIDI Peifer in Categories, EDITORIALS, HALLOWEEN, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Three – 10/03/18

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Three – 10/03/18

10/03 – 1989: PET SEMATARY

It would become a trope that casual and die-hard Stephen King fans would get used to hearing in the years and decades to come: the “unfilmable” story or novel that Hollywood would be hot to splatter onto the big screen.  Novels that King himself said were either “too scary”, “too surreal” ortoo personal”for him to ever consider putting out there as movie fodder. PET SEMATARY was one of those many novels, but not only was it ‘filmable’, but it’s one of

the films that stuck the closest to the source material; maybe even a bit more than CARRIE and CHRISTINE did.

Avant-garde director MARY LAMBERT (SIESTA), working from a script by the Author Himself, (which didn’t hurt the quality one bit), ramped up the dread and the dead in this beloved, spooky tale of a family who moves to a house in Maine that comes with something extra…a backyard to the backyard that contains the local “pet sematary”, where all the furry family members go on their way to the “Rainbow Bridge.” Ah, but it’s what lies beyond that patch of ground, that’s a catalyst for the phantasmaGOREical horrors to come.

The way-too busy highway in front of the house is a guarantee that the ‘sematary’ will have plenty of occupants…but

so will the place where the dead go to…well, to quote the title of another famed King tale, “Sometimes They Come Back.” Only in this particular case, when

they do, they’re not your loved ones anymore, human or animal, and they’re always…hungry.

 

STAR TREK alumni DALE MIDKIFF and DENISE “Tasha Y’ar” CROSBY play parents Louis and Rachel Creed, who move to this picturesque but dangerous part of Maine with their kids, toddler Gage (everyone’s pick for “Best Weird Kid” MIKO HUGHES) and pre-teen Ellie (BLAZE BERDAHL).

A near-tragedy involving Gage (foreshadowing and then some) introduces the Creed family to their kindly old neighbor, Jud Crandall (the late, great FRED GWYNNE), who is the local ‘keeper of secrets’, and is also the link between Louis and the “pet sematary.”

Those who have seen it a thousand times (and at least a few more than that) knows where things are going from here. Those who don’t, and who haven’t read the book? The less you know going in, the better, because the scarier it’s guaranteed to be, if you’re “in the dark” about the finer details.

The cast is perfect; great performances from all concerned parties.  But the greatest nightmare fuel comes from two ‘unknown’ actors who play the apparitions that help give the story it’s scrotum-shriveling chills: BRAD GREENQUIST, who plays a hapless jogger that Louis encounters, and ANDREW HUBATSEK, who goes above and beyond, playing a terrifying figure from Rachel’s past.

As a fiercely sought-after video director who helmed concert and song clips for everyone from Madonna and Janet Jackson to Chris Isaac and Bobby Brown, the strong, at-times ethereal visual sense she has made her a perfect match for King’s script. SEMATARY gave her quite the cinematic ‘sandbox’ to play in, and she clearly took every advantage of it, creating set-pieces so beautifully creepy, that I still get goosebumps just thinking about them.

This is a choice you could never go wrong with for a cloudy, spooky Halloween night. And as the perfect companion piece, may I suggest UNEARTHED AND UNTOLD: THE PATH TO PET SEMATARY? It’s one of the most exhaustive and thorough docs about the ‘making of’ a movie that’s out there.

Oh, and “Post-MORTEM-SCRYPT”: Ready or not, asked for or not, a SEMATARY remake is in the works, with JASON CLARKE (WINCHESTER), AMY SEIMETZ (ALIEN: COVENANT) and JOHN LITHGOW (from a list too long to mention) will be taking over the roles of Louis and Rachel Creed and Jud Crandall, respectively…And before you roll your eyes outta your head at the very notion, check this: KEVIN KOLSCH and DENNIS WIDMEYER (STARRY EYES) are directing, from a script by DAVID KAJGANICH (the SUSPIRIA remake).  That certainly makes me want to give it a fighting chance…

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED CONTENT, HALLOWEEN, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, PARANORMAL, SATANIC/DEMONIC, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
BOOK REVIEW: The Tucson Time Traveler (2018)

BOOK REVIEW: The Tucson Time Traveler (2018)

Once again I have the pleasure of reviewing another book by my good friend author Claus Holm. Though born and raised in Denmark, Claus refers to Tucson, AZ, USA, as his “spiritual home,” and this is quite evident in The Tucson Time Traveler, a collection of stories set in and around the Tucson, AZ, area. Part Ray Bradbury and part Stephen King with a bit of Rod Serling seasoning, The Tucson Time Traveler takes readers through tales of alternate, and sometimes fantastic, realities all circling the central theme of time travel.

The Tucson Time Traveler begins with “The Hilter Dilemma”. Right out of the gate, Claus presents readers with an alternate reality based on the much-debated question, “If you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you”. It is presented from the POV of a German official who grew up after Hilter was assassinated, causing Germany’s rise as the dominant power in the world. Whereas most Hitler and time travel stories focus on the protagonist’s struggles to stop Hitler prior to his rise to power, Claus takes a different tack and does so brilliantly.

The second story, “Tamagotchi”, deals with loss, grief, and the various ways that humans deal with both. Letting go of a loved one is never easy and the hardest loss for most humans is the death of a loved one. “Tamagotchi” shows just how far a grieving family might go to ease the pain of death.

With “I Love Her From The Mirror”, a man moves into an apartment where his mirror gives him a glimpse into another resident’s life. As the narrator watches his neighbor, always careful to respect her privacy, he finds himself falling in love. By turns humorous and thoughtful, “I Love Her From The Mirror” has a definite Twilight Zone vibe.

Next up is “The Killer Inside”, a tale of a man who decides to act out certain compulsions that he never even knew he had. Mostly told from the killer’s point of view, “The Killer Inside” will make you reconsider those urges Poe called “The Imp of the Perverse”.

One of my favorite stories is “The Last Haunted House”. Following two Halloween night stories, the first of an old man building a haunted house and the other of the three kids who choose to enter, “The Last Haunted House” perfectly captures the feel of Halloween to those who love it – both the old and the young. The sights and sounds of Halloween and the haunted house are palpable and bring to mind hints of Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree” while the interactions of the children are authentic and believable.

The next story, “The Phone People”, presents a brief interlude in the life of Dave, a man with no past and a job that requires forgetting. Without giving anything away, “The Phone People” has a Ramsey Campbell feel that will leave the reader thinking.

With “The Final Event”, Claus taps into his inner Stephen King and tells the story of a pair of friends who gets their thrills terrorizing other drivers.

Another favorite of mine, “The Harp” is a modern fairy tale set in Smaaland, Sweden. The rich description immerses the reader, transporting them as the story unfolds.

The next to the last story, “The Man of A Lifetime”, will leave the reader wondering about the nature of memories as well as how they shape our lives.

“The Tucson Time Traveler” is the final story and one which dually addresses the concept of memories and their impact on our lives as well as the implications of time travel. Once again, I cannot say much without giving away the story, but I can say that it is a perfect end to a great collection.

I can’t recommend this collection enough. Claus Holm is an extraordinary writer whose abilities to craft a story and create believable characters makes reading The Tucson Time Traveler a joy. Pick up this one if you can!

5/5 claws

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
In Memoriam: Harlan Ellison 1934 – 2018

In Memoriam: Harlan Ellison 1934 – 2018

Harlan Ellison / Fair use doctrine.Around 1988, I had the great pleasure of spending two days off and on with Harlan Ellison. My first encounter was as part of a group of six having dinner with Harlan Ellison the night before he was to speak at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. When we met him in his hotel lobby, we discovered that no one had bothered to tell Harlan. There were mutterings of what to do, our group asking Harlan because he seemed annoyed. In typical Harlan fashion, he snapped, “Don’t ask me what I want to do because I want to go upstairs and go to bed.” Without missing a beat, I asked, “So should we all go upstairs and go to bed with you?” Harlan’s face was priceless, but the ice had been broken and we proceeded to dinner and an evening I will always remember.

Harlan was cantankerous, abrasive, temperamental, kind, considerate, and a force all his own. I will miss him deeply.

Original cover for Harlan Ellison's Rumble, now titled Web of the City.Born in 1934, Harlan Ellison grew up in Ohio and briefly attended Ohio State University before being expelled allegedly for punching a teacher who had criticized his writing ability. Ellison also served two years in the army in spite of being staunchly anti-war. Ellison published his first work in 1958, a novel titled Rumble, now retitled Web of the City, a semi-autobiographical non-fiction recollection of his time in a Brooklyn gang. The same year two short story collections were published, A Touch of Infinity and The Deadly Streets. After working in television for many years, Ellison published The Glass Teat in 1970, a collection of essays reflecting his opinion of television. The Other Glass Teat, published in 1975, is a follow-up work in the same vein.Harlan Ellison's The Glass Teat and The Other Glass Teat

Harlan Ellison was an American author whose fictional pieces were often of a science fiction, horror, or sci-fi horror nature, but anyone who ever called Harlan a “science fiction” writer never made that mistake a second time. Harlan eschewed labels that pigeon-holed his writing. Ellison’s 1,700+ published works include teleplays, screenplays, novellas, comic book scripts, and short stories as well as essays and critiques of television, film, literature, and more. For his work, Ellison has won Jupiter, Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Writer’s Guild of America, and Edgar awards. In 2000, Ellison also received the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award for his contributions to the field of horror literature.

Don Johnson as Vic and Tiger as Blood in Harlan Ellison's A Boy and His Dog

Don Johnson as Vic and Tiger as Blood in Harlan Ellison’s A Boy and His Dog

Ellison’s work can be seen on television shows such as Star Trek, The Sixth Sense, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, The Hunger, Logan’s Run, and Babylon 5. In 1975, Ellison’s novella A Boy and His Dog was adapted into a movie with a very young Don Johnson and a (not as young) Jason Robards (Harlan, though not pleased with the adaptation, kindly autographed my copy). His 1967 short story “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream”, a post-apocalyptic tale of sentient computers and suffering humans, won the Hugo award that year and is often considered one of the greatest post-apocalyptic stories of the 20th Century.

William Shatner and Joan Collins in Harlan Ellison's "The City on the Edge of Forever", one of the most highly acclaimed Star Trek episodes.

William Shatner and Joan Collins in Harlan Ellison’s “The City on the Edge of Forever”, one of the most highly acclaimed Star Trek episodes.

Ellison was also known for taking a vocal stand when he perceived that his work was being butchered or his creative contributions undermined. When this happened, Ellison would direct that the credits read Cordwainer Bird – save when he disagreed with changes to the Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever”. Interestingly, both Ellison’s original script and the shooting script won awards, the former being the Writers Guild for best episodic television drama (1968) and the latter being a Hugo for best dramatic presentation (1968). This episode also inspired the punk band Edith Keeler Must Die and the song “Edith Keeler Must Die” by Arigon Starr, both named after Spock’s assertion that, “Jim, Edith Keeler must die.” Nevertheless, while Hollywood may’ve not appreciated his efforts, Constant Readers certainly did. For fans, the name Cordwainer Bird immediately evokes knowing nods and “Um-hms”.

Harlan Ellison at the LA Press Club / Copyright 2006 by Galen A. Tripp

Harlan Ellison at the LA Press Club / Copyright 2006 by Galen A. Tripp

Regardless of his irascibility, his work has influenced countless other authors. Stephen King speaks fondly of Harlan and other authors who helped answer questions for Danse Macabre, his 1981 non-fiction book on horror in media.

Lastly, thanks are due to the writers— Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson, Jack Finney, Peter Straub, and Anne Rivers Siddons among them— who were kind enough to answer my letters of enquiry and to provide information about the genesis of the works discussed here. Their voices provide a dimension to this work which would otherwise be sadly lacking.
— Stephen King

I think that sentiment is as appropriate now – Harlan’s death will leave the world and the world of fiction sadly lacking. Rest in peace, Mr. Ellison.

I’d like to end this with another anecdote from my adventure with Harlan. Among the many outstanding moments, this one stands out above the others.

After dinner, we walked around 5-Points South and stopped to look over some items in the window of Memory Lane. I spotted a button that read “WAR is Menstruation ENVY” and laughed outrageously. We all agreed that it was awesome. The following day Harlan spoke to a small group from the UAB Honors Program. I arrived late to find that he had saved me a seat beside him. As I sat down, Harlan presented that same button to me. I still have it.

Thank you, Harlan. Rest in peace. You will be sorely missed.

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR NEWS, OBITUARY, STAFF PICKS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
DREW BARRYMORE: From Child Star to Cannibalistic Leading Lady

DREW BARRYMORE: From Child Star to Cannibalistic Leading Lady

Drew Barrymore with General from Cat's EyeDrew Barrymore has spent her life in front of the camera in a variety of roles but is especially known with genre fans in recent times for her portrayal of Sheila Hammond in two series the Netflix show The Santa Clarita Diet.

Barrymore’s first role was uncredited in a made for television movie Suddenly, Love in 1978 (when she was merely two years old and played a baby boy named Bobby).

Drew BarrymoreIt wouldn’t be until two more years late, in 1980, that Drew would play Margaret Jessup in Altered States, which was also the debut film for William Hurt. Altered States reflected a disturbingly surreal element of humanity and was more psychological than horrifying.

A year later Barrymore hit the big time, starring as the adorably lovable Gertie in Steven Spielberg’s E.T -The Extra-Terrestrial. E.T. was a huge success and grossed nearly half a billion dollars at the box office and was the highest-grossing film of 1982, cementing Barrymore as quite an in-demand child star.

Drew Barrymore in FirestarterIn 1984 Barrymore scored the coveted role of Charlene “Charlie” McGee in the big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Firestarter, playing the film’s pyrokinetic lead. Starring alongside industry heavyweights George. C. Scott and Martin Sheen, Barrymore dominated her screen time and delivered a powerful performance of a young girl driven by her love for her father.

A year later Barrymore would star in yet another Stephen King adaptation, in the anthology film Cat’s Eye. King reportedly wrote the screenplay with Barrymore in mind for the role as she had impressed producer Dino De Laurentiis with her work a year earlier on Firestarter.

Drew BarrymoreThrough the rest of the 80s, Barrymore played parts in shows such as Amazing Stories, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, and CBS Schoolbreak Special. It wasn’t until 1989 when Barrymore was 14 that she returned to genre films with the serial killer thriller Far From Home, as Joleen  Cox. The film was a flop, despite the fact it featured some horror alumni such as Richard Massur (IT), Jennifer Tilly (Bride Of Chucky), and Matt Frewer (The Stand).

This seemed like a decline in Barrymore’s career until three years later when she would star in the seductive 1992 Katt Shea thriller Poison Ivy. As Ivy, Barrymore befriends Sylvie Cooper (played by Sarah Gilbert) and seduces Sylvie’s father Darryl (Tom Skerritt). Barrymore delivered a sultry and fragile performance as the film titles vixen and regained her hold on Hollywood, yet again being seen as a talented actress.

Drew BarrymoreFollowing the success of Poison Ivy (which would spawn three sequels since), Barrymore appeared in Waxwork II: Lost in Time, Sketch Artist, Guncrazy, and No Place To Hide in 1992.

In 1993 Doppelganger was released. Barrymore played Holly Gooding, a young woman with a strange double. It wasn’t as successful as hoped, but has since become popular with fans.

Later that year Barrymore would play Long Island teenager Amy Fisher, in The Amy Fisher Story – based on the true story of a teenager who shot her adult lover Joey Buttafuoco’s wife. The film was well received at the time, and Barrymore praised for her portrayal of the wayward teen and the crime that shocked the world.

For the following years, Barrymore took more romantic roles and in 1995 even appeared as Sugar in Batman Forever, one of the villain Two-Face’s (played by Tommy Lee Jones) girlfriends.

However in 1996 came a pivotal moment in Barrymore’s career, taking on a role as a victim called Casey Becker rather than the lead she was originally offered. In Wes Craven’s/David Williamson’s Scream, Barrymore’s role became as infamous as Janet Leigh’s in Hitchcock’s Psycho 36 years earlier and has since been part of one of Horror’s most memorable on-screen deaths for over two decades since.

Drew Barrymore in ScreamFrom Scream, Barrymore took more light-hearted roles – for which her fans adore her- in films such as The Wedding Singer, Ever After, and Home Fries.

It was in 1999 that Barrymore launched her production company Flower Films and their first film Never Been Kissed (which reunited her with former Doppelganger co-star Sean Whalen – known as Roach from The People Under the Stairs – and Scream co-star David Arquette) was released.

Drew BarrymoreIn 2001 she returned to the genre in Donnie Darko as Karen Pomeroy. The sci-fi/thriller film still has fans divided to this day over the interpretation of what it means.

Following commercial success with the Charlie’s Angels film reboots and a dramatic role in Driving in Cars With Boys, Barrymore has built her career for the last decade primarily in producing films and starring in romantic and dramatic roles.

Drew BarrymoreIn 2017 Netflix released the first series of The Santa Clarita Diet. The show is a horror comedy, about the strange death of Sheila Hammond. However Sheila isn’t quite dead, she’s undead and has a hankering for human flesh. It is up to her husband Joel (Timothy Olyphant), daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) and their young neighbor Eric (Skyler Gisondo) to help figure out how Sheila became what she now is and try and change her back to normal.

The show has run for two seasons already and confirmation for series three has been announced. Fans are enjoying the dark humor and balance between the comedy itself and grotesque gore. It has been an enjoyable and hilarious show to watch and personally a great reintroduction to genre fans for Barrymore’s skills as a comedienne and her abilities within the genre.

Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant in Santa Clarita Diet

Posted by Michelle MIDI Peifer in REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
WiHM: Celebrating Women In Horror Month with Katt Shea

WiHM: Celebrating Women In Horror Month with Katt Shea

With a career as long as your arm and a keen investment in varied genres, Katt Shea has been a popular female actress and filmmaker to film fans for nearly forty years.

Her first acting job on screen was as Rita in the TV movie The Asphalt Cowboy in 1980, and from then on, she acted in films like My Tutor, Scarface, Preppies, and Psycho III.

Stripped to Kill (1987) Written and directed by Katt SheaIn 1987, Shea then stepped behind the camera and became the writer (alongside Andy Reuben) and director on her first film Stripped To Kill (which got a sequel two years later with Stripped To Kill 2: Live Girls). Stripped To Kill was a dramatic crime horror focused on the investigation of the death of a girl in a strip club and one detective’s need to go undercover as a stripper to solve the crime. It has an oddly beautiful mix of stripping and crime solving for the fans of 80s films.

She continued her directing career with another film about the world of strippers with the vampiric romp, Dance of the Damned and Streets (a film about runaways in Venice being hunted by a psychotic cop).

Dance of the Damned (1989) Written and directed by Katt SheaIn 1992, Shea would become an even bigger name worldwide, with the release of her popular sexual thriller Poison Ivy. The film starred Hollywood child darling Drew Barrymore (now nearly a young woman) alongside the likes of Tom Skerritt, Sara Gilbert, and Cheryl Ladd. The film focused on a sexually alluring femme fatale, her friendship with another confused young woman, and the lengths she will go to to have anything she desired.

Poison Ivy was so popular with audiences, it spawned three sequels with heavy female influences on either the script or direction each time.

Following the success of Poison Ivy, Shea’s next project was co-writing and directing the low budget Roger Corman produced made-for-television film Last Exit To Earth. This was a film, amidst their formidable friendship and filmmaking career and Corman has even stated in the past when interviewed regarding Shea:

She is a talented director. She’s particularly good with actors, having been an actress herself. She’s taught herself about the camera and has gotten better with each picture.

Streets (1990) Written and directed by Katt SheaThree years later, however, horror fans were treated to the fun and meaningful film Carrie 2: The Rage.

Shea directed this enjoyable teen follow up to De Palma’s 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie. The film even starred Amy Irving, who returned as Sue Snell for the second time and introduced the impressive Emily Bergl in her first film role.

Though Carrie 2: The Rage received mixed reviews, personally (as a fan of adaptations of King’s books) I can appreciate this film more than the 2002 remake with Angela Bettis.

Since beginning her career, Shea has always impressed others with her kindness and care. This has led to her career as an acting coach and has made a lucrative career as such by helping prepare new as well as established actors for roles within the industry. She has continued to sometimes make and act in films over the years and never regrets a moment of it.

The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999) / Kate Shea as the Deputy DA

I like every single film I’ve ever made , I really do. Other people call them exploitation films, but to me what I was doing was never exploitative. I always had a strong point of view about my intention; it was never just to make money or to titillate or to horrify. I always had my purpose and I made those movies myself. I can’t imagine sitting around and trying to piece together elements that I think other people want to see. That would be so boring!
—Katt Shea

Katt Shea

Posted by Michelle MIDI Peifer in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
WiHM: Salute to Mary Lambert and Her Infamous Retelling of a Stephen King Classic

WiHM: Salute to Mary Lambert and Her Infamous Retelling of a Stephen King Classic

Mary Lambert and Pet Sematary sign

Mary Lambert

Stephen King and Mary Lambert on the set of Pet Sematary

Mary Lambert has always been a household name for music fans, having begun her career directing music videos for the likes of Madonna, Bobby Brown, The Eurythmics, and much more.

Following the success of her first feature film Siesta in 1987, Lambert’s follow up film, Pet Semetary, reached an all new audience – horror fans!

Lambert carefully, and respectfully, worked alongside Stephen King to create a visual adaptation of one of his more popular novels (at the time) and to bring the characters within his book to life.

Mary Lambert

Stephen King and Church the cat from Pet Sematary

With Lambert’s vision and willingness to shoot the film in King’s home state of Maine, the film evolved wonderfully and became the classic that it is known for by horror fans today.

The casting choices of amazing actors such as Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Micah Hughes, Brad Greenquist, and the late Fred Gwynne, made the film a powerful portrayal of a family caught between the moral and immoral when unthinkable tragedy befalls them.

Despite the huge commercial success of Lambert’s adaptation of Pet Semetary, she continued to primarily make music videos. In between, she created films like The Attic with Tom Malloy. Her sequel Pet Semetary 2, which starred Edward Furlong and Clancy Brown, was sadly a cinematic flop but gained a following with a certain crowd.

Mary LambertRecently, Lambert appeared in Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Semetary, a phenomenal documentary by John Campopiano and Justin White, about the making of Lambert’s iconic film.

Lambert herself, alongside many other cast and crew, candidly discussed the film’s production and throughout the documentary, she is praised by her colleagues.

Despite her minimal and infrequent interactions within the horror genre, it is undeniable that Lambert is known primarily for a memorable horror film.

Mary LambertPersonally, Pet Semetary was the turning point for me and the beginning of a passion for horror and reading Stephen King novels. It is a twisted tale of sorrow and despair, and Lambert’s ability to garner an emotional response from her viewers, proves her place as a director within the horror world- even after nearly thirty years, I talk to many fans about the impact of Gage and the kite scene during their childhood viewing and how emotional that moment was for them.

With news of her unforgettable film facing a remake (due for release April 19, 2019), fans are curious to know how Lambert feels about the news.

Pet Sematary - Zelda, Church, and Pascow

Posted by Michelle MIDI Peifer in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
Nick Younker – Interview With A Horror Author

Nick Younker – Interview With A Horror Author

Hello, horror fans! Horrormadam here to tell you about one of my favorite authors Nick Younker. His short stories and novellas run the gamut of themes from Native American curses, to sociopaths, vampires, unnatural chaos, and the Zombie Apocalypse. They are so intelligent and engaging and give you a complete story in a concise manner. I love them so much that after completing I am compelled to review on Amazon. Before we talk to Mr. Younker, I wanted to show you the synopsis for my favorite of his Don’t Bury Me:

Evan, an activist hell-bent on exposing corruption within the pharmaceutical industry, accepts an invitation to go on a daring mission to Croatia in search of an ancient corpse that fell victim to a 14th-century plague. The mission becomes a stunning success with the discovery of a femur bone, but it comes with a price when he takes it to Indiana University in Bloomington for independent research.

After it reanimates, the outbreak takes a supernatural turn and the government responds by quarantining five states in the Midwest. The terminal virus, also known as the Rip Tide, forces people to self-cannibalize near the end. Evan, who seems to be immune to the Rip Tide, travels up and down the deserted roads of Southern Indiana to help people die peacefully.

Aided by both FEMA and the CDC with a satellite phone and airdrops, Evan encounters a young girl who was abandoned by her parents. To make matters worse, a 14th Century witch appears to him as an apparition, taking the form of a dead Goth-Rock Star he admires to manipulate him into spreading her lethal spores. But Evan has other plans and he starts to break through her supernatural code, finding unique ways to keep the young girl alive.

If that doesn’t get you interested I don’t know what would!

House of Tortured Souls: When did you get the writing bug and what made you want to be a writer?

Nick Younker: I never got the “writing bug,” per say. But I did write some prose in college and found out that I had some skills inherent to people in the industry. Honestly, I only wanted to be a news writer when I was in college and that’s what I did after I finally got my BS. But the more time I spent in the television industry, the less I liked it. So soon after I started working for Turner in Atlanta, I also began doing small projects at home. Just a short story here or a screenplay there. Eventually, my flow began taking me in the direction of prose, which is a world apart from screenwriting, and I started producing stories one after the other. I did write a novel and a few novellas but found short stories to be the most fulfilling work. They contain less filler and I write in Grunge Narrative style, so that’s extremely attractive to me.

HoTS: Who were some of your early writing influences?

NY: I’m assuming you’re asking about novelists, but I have a long list of writers that have influenced me from different mediums. In the literary industry, novelists like Bukowski, Vonnegut (both used Grunge Narrative style), Ketchum, Blatty, Irving, Larsson and Algernon Blackwood were the most attractive scribes for me.

But my influences in movies and music include Alan Ball, the Coen Brothers, Cobain, Springsteen, Vedder, Cornell, Cantrell, Jett, Hetfield, Hendrix, Morrison and most importantly, Roky Erickson. The works of these fine names have exploded my ability to think critically, fourth dimensionally, and allowed me to pursue creative works that have far surpassed my expectations.

HoTS: Why the horror genre?

NY: Why not? I have frequently been asked that by my family and friends, who do not seem to share the same love of horror that I do but never miss an opportunity to download one of my works.

Horror entertains a reader the same way drama, literary fiction, romance, sci-fi, young adult (vomit), thrillers and human-interest stories do. I don’t think anyone sits down to read a book that they already know what happens at the summit. Everyone wants to be shocked, to see some originality. I would argue that horror is the premiere genre to achieve such goals. It is much broader and the freedom to shock a reader is virtually limitless.

HoTS: Who are some of your favorite authors and books?

NY: Well, I’m not a big fan of playing favorites, but The Willows by Algernon Blackwood did for me what The Blair Witch Project did for horror movie fans. I should also add that 1984 has been a big hit in my playbook. But my all-time favorite book(s) is the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo).

HoTS: Have your influences changed as you’ve grown older?

NY: Not really. I rarely buy new books from mainstream authors, instead opting for indie writers who have a good following from people I know and trust. Even though I write primarily in horror, I like books that feature characters who struggle with poverty, especially poverty in the richest nation in the world. I suppose you could say that I identify with them, given my chosen “career.”

HoTS: What are some of your favorite horror movies?

NY: There’s a laundry list of those, but I will try to condense it. Let The Right One In, What We Do In The Shadows, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rawhead Rex, Return of the Living Dead, Zombieland, An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Candyman, Dawn of the Dead (1978), The Conjuring, Rosemary’s Baby, Demons, Demons 2, Spookies… oh shit, I got carried away.

HoTS: Tell us about some of your favorites that you have written?

NY: Out of all my stories, Don’t Bury Me is perhaps my best work to date. Although there is a special place in my heart for the others, that one really tugged at my heartstrings. I have a new one I’m working on right now that’s a passion project, titled The Birth of an American Vampire. It features a character who was turned by immaculate conception following the death of his mother and the extreme grief that left him vulnerable to the curse. He has no sire, just a victim of natural selection following a perfect storm of internal and external conflicts gone violently wrong.

HoTS: Are there any author’s quotes that keep you going?

NY: I wouldn’t say that the quotes keep me going, but there is one that I really admire from Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption:
“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” ~ Andy Dufresne as written by Stephen King.

HoTS: For young writers out there, what words do you have for them?

NY: Embrace poverty and love the poor because they’re going to be your brethren.

HoTS: Where do your ideas come from?

Nick Younker: Thick air… cause I find it hard to breathe or think, in thin air.

HoTS: When they make a film about your illustrious writing career, who do you think should play you?

Nick Younker: The late, great Chris Farley. I can’t say for certain, but I think he’d return from the grave for an opportunity like that.

HoTS: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

NY: Not really, but I would like to take this opportunity to address the rise of Grunge Narrative writing style. Writers like myself use it and I find it to be the best way to read any great short story. I wrote an article about the many different tenets of the style that you can read here.

If anyone wants to check out my works in the horror genre, you can visit my Amazon page.

You can catch up with him on Twitter (@NYounker) where he publishes over 20 smart-ass tweets and horror images every day. You can also connect with him on his website, FogstowJamison.com, where he publishes articles on news in the horror, sci-fi and dark fantasy industry.

Thanks for speaking with me, Jaye! You rock girl!

And I want to thank Nick Younker so much for answering my questions and giving us such great reading material! Nick, you are an inspiration to me and my writing!

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, INTERVIEWS, PARANORMAL, SCI-FI HORROR, STAFF PICKS, THRILLER, VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, 0 comments
Tower Junkies Rejoice – The Dark Tower TV Show is Coming

Tower Junkies Rejoice – The Dark Tower TV Show is Coming

The Dark Tower, Roland Deschain, Everything is 19 / Image: Michael Whelan

The Dark Tower, Roland Deschain, Everything is 19 / Image: Michael Whelan

Last summer’s The Dark Tower wasn’t the adaptation that fans expected and was met with mixed reviews across the globe, but that’s not stopping plans to proceed with The Dark Tower TV series. Tower Junkies have been hearing rumors of a Dark Tower TV series for more than a decade, but this time it looks like those rumors might come to fruition as The Dark Tower TV show may start filming this summer. Omega Underground is reporting that filming will take place in Ireland and the UK, a smart move since they’re reportedly going to stick much closer to the books than the did. Likewise, this means we can expect different casting choices and rumors are that’s started as well.

The Dark Tower, Roland Deschain, Tull / Image: Michael Whelan

The Dark Tower, Roland Deschain, Tull / Image: Michael Whelan

IMDb still lists the possible series as focusing on the events in Wizard & Glass, the fourth book in the series and the one which tells us the most of Roland’s youth and his first ka-tet, so there’s nothing to be learned there. However, King himself stated in October of 2017 that the series focus had changed from prequel or background, which would’ve accommodated the leads from the film, to a complete reboot.

The Dark Tower / Image: Ned Dameron

The Dark Tower / Image: Ned Dameron

During the decade of hope, speculation, and disappointment, producer Ron Howard was behind the epic concept of a combined TV series and feature films to tell Roland Deschain’s tale, allowing for the different mediums to accommodate the various aspects of the story as well as of Roland’s world itself. Tower Junkies are hopeful that the medium will facilitate a more faithful rendering of the narrative and of Roland and his world. Without the confines of a feature film time limit, The Dark Tower TV show may just succeed where the movie could not.

The Dark Tower, The Crimson King / Image: Michael Whelan

The Dark Tower, The Crimson King / Image: Michael Whelan

Stay tuned to House of Tortured Souls for more information as it becomes available.

Long days and pleasant nights.

Posted by Alan Smithee in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, REMAKES AND REBOOTS, 0 comments
COMING SOON: Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)

COMING SOON: Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)

Being a huge fan of Martyrs (2008) I was pretty excited to learn that its director Pascal Laugier is making a new film called Incident in a Ghost Land. The film is set to release sometime in April of this year.

Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)

The film stars the incredibly beautiful Mylene Farmer, a very famous French singer in real life, successfully selling more than 30 million records in France. She is considered one of the most successful recording artists of all time in France. Alongside Farmer co-stars Crystal Reed (from TV’s Gotham) and Anastasia Philipps (a lovely young Canadian Actress).

Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)The script is described as having a Stephen King vibe to it and the film as “dark” and “scary”. It’s about a mother Colleen (Farmer) and her two daughters Beth (reed) and Vera (Philipps) who upon the death of Colleen’s aunt inherit her house. On the first night in their new home, there is a home invasion and Colleen is forced to fight to save her daughters lives.

Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)Sixteen years later, Beth becomes a famous horror writer and has a happy family; on the other hand, Vera can’t cope with her past trauma and has become mentally unstable and paranoid. The two sisters continue to live in the dead aunt’s home. Mother and daughters reunite and the strange events begin.

Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)Incident in a Ghost Land sounds a bit “vanilla” and like a story that has been done a thousand times before — not the extreme cinema experience I was expecting. The trailer did nothing to improve my opinion, so I decided to revisit the original Martyrs trailer to see how the two lined up. The Martyrs trailer definitely appears more violent and extreme from the get-go, but it doesn’t reveal much of the actual story or the depths it goes to. At a first glance, it looks like a gritty revenge movie. I’m hoping Incident in a Ghost Land will also be much more than what we see on the surface, and I remain optimistic and excited for its release.

Posted by Candace Stone in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, 0 comments