Twilight Zone

NIGHTMARE CINEMA: A REVIEW

NIGHTMARE CINEMA: A REVIEW

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 100mg sildenafil citrate pfizer labs source url click here enter english writing services levitra mexico writing your dissertation click online Amoxicillin antibiotique without prescripyion http://mechajournal.com/alumni/essay-write-service/12/ doctoral dissertation levitra natural alternatives follow enter site enter site essay about childhood event a new business plan go site source enter site order a paper online see www. quais efeitos tem o viagra go to link homework help fossil fuels cialis 5 mg precio go to link topics for proposal cheapest generic viagra uk case study analysis example social work enter site website to write essays 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!

Posted by Samuel Glass in Categories, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, 0 comments
No April Fool’s joke. Watch the first episode of the Twilight Zone now.

No April Fool’s joke. Watch the first episode of the Twilight Zone now.

Unbelievably The Twilight Zone premiered today on CBS ALL ACCESS. Now, this is a streaming service that you will have to pay monthly to watch the episodes. Sadly, the entire series is not airing all at once, but each week a different episode will air. Today is a day of pranks, jokes, and misleading information. CBS decided to give the fans the chance to watch the first episode for free on YouTube.

Normally I will give a concise review with no spoilers, or just give my thoughts. This time we will let you the fans check it out. Here is the small plot of the episode called THE COMEDIAN, Comedian Samir Wassan (Kumail Nanjiani) wants to be famous…but at what cost? The episode also features Tracy Morgan.

Posted by Jai Alexis in ANTHOLOGY, BRUTAL REALITY, CAST AND CREW NEWS, EVENTS, EXCLUSIVE, FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED ARTISTS, FEATURED CONTENT, FICTION AND POETRY, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, HALLOWEEN, HORROR COMEDIES, HORROR HEROES, HORROR HISTORY, HORROR NEWS, HOSTED HORROR, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, NATURE STRIKES BACK, NEW RELEASES, PARANORMAL, PREQUELS AND SEQUELS, REMAKES AND REBOOTS, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, THRILLER, VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
Here’s the trailer for Twilight Zone (2019) and the premiere date!

Here’s the trailer for Twilight Zone (2019) and the premiere date!

It’s officially here the trailer for the Twilight Zone remake. This is the Third revival of the hit television show and even though we were told Jordan Peele will be serving as executive producer and will  remaking his favorite episode “Terror at 20,000 feet” we still have to wonder what exactly we’ll be seeing.

The trailer doesn’t give us a whole lot to figure out, but like Jordan’s previous trailers there’s more than meets the eye on what we think we know. The trailer also gives us a slew of stars. Sanaa Lathan, Adam Scott,  Kumail Nanjiani,  John Cho, Allison Tolman, Jacob Tremblay, Erica Tremblay, Steven Yeun, and Greg Kinnear, DeWanda Wise, Jessica Williams, Lucinda Dryzek, Jefferson White, Jonathan Whitesell, Taissa Farmiga, Rhea Seehorn, Luke Kirby, Ike Barinholtz, and Percy Hynes-White, Ginnifer Goodwin, James Frain, and Zabryna Guevara, Tracy Morgan, John Larroquette, Glenn Fleshler and Chris Diamantopoulos. The series will premiere exclusively on the CBS all access streaming services April 1, 2019. I highly doubt this will be a gag but it’s real. Here’s the official trailer for the series

Posted by Jai Alexis in ABNORMAL MUSINGS AND FREAKISH FACTS, ANTHOLOGY, BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, BRUTAL REALITY, CAST AND CREW NEWS, COMING SOON, EVENT REVIEWS, EVENTS, EXCLUSIVE, FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED ARTISTS, FEATURED CONTENT, FICTION AND POETRY, HALLOWEEN, HORROR COMEDIES, HORROR HEROES, HORROR HISTORY, HORROR NEWS, HOSTED HORROR, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, NATURE STRIKES BACK, NEW RELEASES, PARANORMAL, PODCAST, REMAKES AND REBOOTS, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, SERIES REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, THRILLER, URBAN DECAY/DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, WOMEN IN HORROR, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
My 3 Months with Horror Block

My 3 Months with Horror Block

By Kevin Belyski

Let me first start by saying that this is in no way a sponsored review. I did not receive a free subscription for the purpose of giving a biased opinion on Nerd Block or Horror Block. I was not, and have not been in contact with them in regards to this review, and this and all of my reviews are impartial. I did not contact them in hopes of getting free stuff for a favorable or prejudiced opinion of this service… So this is my honest opinion. With all that being said, if they wanted to send me free stuff in the future (hint hint) they have my info.

Horror Block_Front Page

This is a relatively new concept (launched in 2013), but a lotta companies are doing these subscription boxes, and it was my birthday so I got myself a little something. According to the Nerd Block web site it works like this: "Horror Block contains licensed merchandise, hand-picked by our team of uber-nerds representing all genres from movies, television, video games, Internet, and more! Each item is carefully selected and put through a series of in-house testing based on quality, brand association, collectibility, and most important – fun factor. Working with some of the biggest brands in the business, Horror Block not only delivers on value but also rewards members with exclusive items found nowhere else! At Horror Block we live by our motto: geek tested, nerd approved.."

It’s a great little monthly box of surprises, and they tease you with a hint at what is in next month’s box to add to the anticipation. You can suspend your subscription and reactivate when you want, to skip a month. They send you emails to let you know when it’s on the way. It’s 20 bucks a month plus 5 for shipping, and if you do some looking around you can get coupon codes to save 15 or 20 percent off the total. You get an exclusive t-shirt and some cool collectibles, which they say is a $60 value.

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My only real concern was that I’m not the kind of guy who will just wear a shirt with something I don’t know about or like. I was really hoping I wasn’t going to get an It Follows or “Annabelle” t-shirt. Maybe it was luck, but the first month’s shirt was a classic, Bella Lugosi as Dracula. Along with that I got an issue of Rue Morgue magazine, a Twilight Zone mystic seer for the car’s dashboard, and a white cleaning cloth splattered with blood (I use as a burp rag for my baby daughter). Also in the box was an autographed print of Addy Miller from her role as little girl zombie from the first episode of The Walking Dead, and a David Hasselhoff bobble head from Sharknado.

I thought, not bad… I wouldn’t have bought half of this dust collecting crap, but if you consider a shirt for $25, the rest is sorta free crap, and something new to put on my desk at work.

The second month’s box was better than the first, but when I first opened it, I had mixed feelings. I see the shirt, and it’s red (not my favorite, but I’ve been told I do look good in red) and then I realize it’s a Wes Craven tribute shirt. Freddy and Ghostface, Hess from Last House, Serpent and the Rainbow, Shocker and People Under the Stairs all represented… F’n awesome! Another issue of Rue Morgue magazine, a Daryl Dixon Funko Pop keychain, and a zombie hula girl dashboard ornament (on the work desk). And a cute little Freddy Kruger plush doll (it seems my daughter gets something every month too). To top it off there is an awesome print of Godzilla Vs. Cthulhu by artist Paul Hanley. Very cool.

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The last of my three month subscription boxes had the hint that it would have merchandise from Stephen King’s classic Carrie. I was hoping it wasn’t the shirt, and it turned out to be a bookmark featuring a film cell of Sissy Spacek covered in blood. The shirt was John Carpenter’s They Live! F’n awesome again! A neat little meat cleaver key chain, a book from Rue Morgue on the history of horror comics, a baby dolls head, and a gravestone phone holder (for the desk).

So, all in all, I think it was worth it and I would highly recommend the Horror Block for anyone with money to burn and who wants more knick knacks taking up space at home. I found it was a good bargain considering I needed some new shirts and each one came with some toys and fun little surprises. Like I said, if I had gotten a M. Night Shyamalan t-shirt I probably would have been less enthused, if not flat out mad. But if you saw my face when I opened that box, unfolded the shirt and read OBEY or laid my eyes on the Craven tribute shirt, you would know the joy of the Horror Block! Yes, some of it is junk I never would have spent money on, but the shirts more than made up for that.

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