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Netflix: June Horror Roundup

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It’s a huge month for Netflix streamers. We’ve got a handful of nasty pictures making a return to the digital outlet and a series of brand new arrivals that are going to afford genre fans the chance to catch up on some treasures that may have been missed. There’s marquee magic all over the place, as you’ll see names like Stephen King, Anton Yelchin, Dean Koontz, Famke Janssen, Jake Gyllenhaal and James Wan surface in the lineup, so it’s safe to step out on a few limbs here. Dig on just a small handful of the new shiners on Netflix in June!

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1nightcrawler

Nightcrawler:

Nightcrawler is a genuine mind-fuck. Not because it happens to be a profoundly complex feature, but because writer/director Dan Gilroy dips into a dimension of depravity that is just really, really hard to absorb. The film is dark and morbid and Jake Gyllenhaal’s work as the twisted lead Louis Bloom is unsettling to say the very least. While more thriller than horror, the film is no doubt guaranteed to leave viewers deeply unsettled. Expect an excellent scipt and some jarring performances from this exceptional piece.


asmodexia

Asmodexia:

Don’t tune into Asmodexia anticipating your run-of-the-mill exorcism movie, because you aren’t going to get it. What you will get is a very well shot Spanish flick that pits good versus evil in typical fashion only to turn around and yank the rug from beneath our feet. While the movie as a whole may not be an outright masterpiece, the twist that director Marc Carreté hits us with in the final moments is masterful. There are surprises in store for viewers here and if you don’t mind reading subtitles you’re likely to walk away from the viewing experience feeling surprisingly gratified.


extraterrestial

Extraterrestrial:

I’m not a big fan of The Vicious Brothers, but they’ve assembled a pretty decent little flick with a solid cast. The visuals work rather well and although the concept may lean toward the preposterous, it is still quite a bit more embraceable than those dreadful Grave Encounters flicks… which for the record, were utter shite. If alien invasion type flicks tickle your fancy, then go ahead and give this one a go, it’s definitely superior to the average sub-genre effort.


oculus

Oculus:

Mike Flanagan truly impressed with his 2011 indie feature Absentia. In fact, he impressed enough to turn around and earn the right to film a substantially larger picture. That pic is Oculus, which tells the story of a mirror that turns the mild mannered into the murderous variety, and it was pretty damn good. There are a series of chilling moments to take in and the performances are excellent across the board. It’s a fairly original piece and it deserves a look from those who haven’t had the chance to check it out.


houses

The Houses October Built:

The Houses October Built returns to Netflix this month and that’s a good thing. While not jaw dropping on any level, this is an ambitious little found footage film that differs from most handi-can flicks. The cast is excellent and the menacing clowns will leave you feeling just a tad unnerved. Although not universally adored by fans, for my buck this one is well worth a watch. It’s certainly one of the stronger found footage efforts to hit the market inside the last half-decade.


town

The Town that Dreaded Sundown:

Talk about a stunning picture. Not only does The Town that Dreaded Sundown far exceed expectations, it’s a really enjoyable blend of remake and sequel, and it also sparked awareness of the original (which is excellent and insanely creepy), which should never have fallen into the realm of obscurity to begin with. Hands down one of the finest reboots we’ve seen in recent years, The Town that Dreaded Sundown is an absolute must-watch!


comebacktome

Come Back to Me:

Now here’s a damn interesting piece. Based on the eerie Wrath James White novel, Come Back to Me doesn’t translate perfectly to film, but it does leave viewers stunned at the wild twist offered forth. Expect a slow start to things, as the first half of the picture is average at best, but once we round the halfway bend, all insanity kicks into gear and then that amazing spin on ths story closes the deal and leaves the jaw on the floor. It’s worth it to sit through the sub-par first half, no doubt about it.


13sins

13 Sins:

Anytime a filmmaker can deliver genuinely sadistic material with a hint of obvious class, something special is happening. By all accounts 13 Sins should be a revolting, visually shocking picture. It really isn’t. Rather, it’s a very well told tale of a man put in a horrific bind, forced to cross the threshold that separates decency and savagery. And again, it never comes across as offensive, and that is something to behold. Mark Webber is absolutely brilliant in the film, which should already own a place in your collection. Don’t miss it on Netflix (it comes and goes) this month.


oddthomas

Odd Thomas: Heading into the Dean Koontz transfer Odd Thomas my expectations were about as low as they dive. I anticipated nothing more than a cookie cutter PG-13 flick, but what the hell, Koontz has nailed a few novels in his time and Anton Yelchin is a young bad ass of the genre. I gave it a go and found myself rather stunned. Make no mistake, Odd Thomas does feel a little hollow, but it’s quite a bit more enjoyable than expected. The special effects aren’t dreadful, the cast is strong all around and the pace of the film is pitch perfect.


killerlegends

Killer Legends:

Documentary fans take note: Joshua Zeman is an amazing filmmaker and Killer Legends, though slightly suffocated to fit into a reasonable time frame, is extremely entertaining. Four urban legends are put under the microscope (part of the reason the time becomes an issue) and explored pretty thoroughly. There’re some very familiar concepts on display here and any longtime genre follower who checks this one out will not only welcome the topics covered, they’re likely going to be left feeling as though they’ve added a little knowledge to the noggin. A fine film indeed.


alien

Alien Abduction:

Here’s another fair found footage film for those who love their horror when it feels as close to real as possible. Of course the film isn’t real, but it is actually based on a real case that occurred in North Carolina. There are some strong visuals to take in and as the film progresses into the final act we get a couple unforgiving action sequences (it looks pretty bad ass when people begin to be abducted). Alien Abduction is no ground breaker, but it’ll hold your attention for 85 minutes.


goodmarriage

A Good Marriage:

This Stephen King adaptation surprises right out of the gate. It’s more of an emotional horror piece than anything else, but between a very crafty script, stellar performances from Anthony LaPaglia and Joan Allen and a satisfying conclusion, it’s a fine way to watch 102 minutes tick away. Throw in some very polished (even if controlled) visuals and you’re looking at a standout of the King variety. Disregard the fact that the film didn’t earn a wide theatrical release, it still makes for excellent entertainment.


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Hemlock Grove:

All kinds of supernatural craziness waits in this Netflix original series, of which you can now watch both season one and two. Werewolves stand at the forefront of the story, but trust in the fact that this one is quite a bit more complicated than that. The series isn’t flawless, but strong performances from Famke Janssen, Landon Liboiron and Dougray Scott help to keep the interest alive. The second halves of each season offer plenty of action and plot twists, so hang on through the slower episodes to get to the truly disconcerting stuff!


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All Cheerleaders Die:

Fan reception seems to be quite mixed when it comes to Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson’s teen terror flick All Cheerleaders Die. From my position, the flick absolutely rocked. It deviated from a lot of the typical tropes one would expect, featured a slew of respectable performances and – as proven in the introductory sequence – didn’t give a damn about playing it safe. It’s unforgiving in the greatest moments, and while it may be a far out concept, it’s a far out concept that at least manages to thrill. It’s no The Woman, or May, but it is a feature that McKee can be proud of.


insidious2

Insidious: Chapter 2:

There’s no need to speak on the Insidious franchise, much. We all know these are solid stories with awesome visuals and some chilling hidden scares. The second chapter in the ongoing series may not be as petrifying as the inaugural effort, but it’s a fine film all the same. It has once more made its way onto Netflix’s awesome streaming service, and given the release of the third film, now is the perfect time to catch up!

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Terrifier – Dread Central Presents Poster Premiere! Release Date Announced!

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Pardon the pun, and yes, it is kinda cringe-worthy, but with our new venture Dread Central Presents, we are NOT clowning around when it comes to bringing you some of the most compelling indie cinema you’ll find anywhere. Projects other distributors wouldn’t touch because they deemed them as going “too far.” Case in point: Damien Leone’s Terrifier.

One of the first titles to get announced for the new Dread Central Presents label through Epic Pictures was the festival favorite Terrifier. The gory 80’s “slasher” throwback takes place on Halloween night as the demented Art the Clown sets his sights on terrorizing two girls and anyone else that gets in his way!

When will horror fans here in the States get to see Art unleash his mayhem?

We’re thrilled to let you know that Terrifier will arrive in select theaters, COMPLETELY UNCUT, as part of a new monthly screening series called “Dread Central Presents” on Thursday, March 15th, and Friday, March 16th. It will be available on VOD March 27th.

We’re so excited to be working with Epic Pictures and Dread Central Presents to get Art the Clown on the big screen and on VOD,” said writer/director Damien Leone. “It’s encouraging to have the support of people who respect the genre and are dedicated to preserving the filmmaker’s vision. TERRIFER IS COMING!

The Dread Central Presents screenings will kick off on January 25th and 26th with a special double feature of Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight and cult favorite Turbo Kid.We’re really excited to be doing something completely different with the way our theatrical model will work,” says Dread Central Presents Director of Distribution Rob Galluzzo. “We’re focusing on cultivating local horror communities to see our features at indie-friendly theaters before anyone else. And Terrifier is the type of horror film that should be experienced with a crowd on the big screen.

Stay tuned for full details on which theaters near you will be screening all of the Dread Central Presents releases. You can also keep tabs via the official Dread Central Presents Facebook page right here.

And in honor of the date announcement, we’ve got the exclusive new U.S. theatrical one-sheet poster for you below!

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Time for a Road Trip with Three Classic Horror Movies that Visit Roadside Attractions

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Over the river and through the woods, the holiday season is the busiest time to travel. If you’re thinking of pulling over to rest at a cheap roadside attraction or take a break at an out of the way motel, you’ll think again after watching these horror classics.

Look, it’s a creepy roadside museum! Oh, not to worry, the proprietor looks friendly. Say, isn’t that the star of that ‘50s TV show “The Rifleman?” A fine, upstanding guy, for sure. Let’s go in.

David Schmoeller (Puppetmaster) made his directorial debut with Tourist Trap (1979). Although the film is all over the place with plot and theme, that’s nothing new to ’70s B-horror; and Tourist Trap is one of those little slasher gems that bears up to repeat viewings.

Five friends, including the stunning Tanya Roberts (“Charlie’s Angels,” “That ’70s Show”), stop by a roadside museum owned by Chuck Connors (“The Rifleman”) after car trouble. Slausen’s Lost Oasis features lifelike mannequins. Schmoeller films these life-sized dummies in various states of disrepair to build a wonderful creepiness.

Fans generally seem to love this movie, even when shaking their heads at the flaws. Stephen King, in his book Danse Macabre, talks about the movie’s “eerie spooky power.” I, myself, have to laugh at Pino Donaggio’s goofy choice of intro music — it sounds as if we’re in for a farcical comedy, but the film never returns to that mood.

If you like the slasher genre and ’70s B-horror and haven’t seen Tourist Trap, it needs to be on your must-see list.

Unlike Tourist Trap, Motel Hell found its audience as the number one ranked movie for the weekend of October 24-26, 1980.

What’s not to love? Veteran movie and TV actor Rory Calhoun is Vincent Smith, a farmer who, with his sister, Ida, sets traps for victims, buries them to their necks in a secret garden, fattens them up, and then makes them into his famous smoked meats.

“It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent’s fritters” is the man’s motto. This gives you an idea of what’s coming: Motel Hell is played for laughs.

The movie will make you chuckle, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its unforgettable imagery. The moving sacks in the garden, all lined up in a row, are eerie as hell. Then the sacks are yanked off to show buried humans, vocal cords cut to prevent screaming. You will remember that scene.

Then comes the harvest —

Some of the images are so disturbing they’ve entered popular culture in other works: the pig head mask in Saw, for instance, and the preparation scene for my own “Welcome to Dunwich” in Strange Horror #1, where sacrifices are buried up to their necks, dazed, and waiting for elder gods.

There are depths to Motel Hell. The farmer’s friendly relationship to the clueless community around him and his resolute sense of purpose make his character unique in the horror genre. The love story is so psychologically twisted I won’t even start to explain it here.

The victims are interesting, well-rounded characters, not teenagers in tank tops and short shorts.

An interesting, amusing, and entertaining horror film from director Kevin Connor (The Land that Time Forgot).

A year after The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, director Tobe Hooper was back to depicting rednecks as maniacal killers. This time it’s a single redneck, Judd, portrayed by Neville Brand (“Laredo”) in Eaten Alive (1976), sometimes titled Horror Hotel, Murder on the Bayou, or Starlight Slaughter. Brand’s experience in movies and TV helps here as he gives this one-dimensional character twisted realism.

Judd runs a broken-down hotel, and when people agitate him, he feeds them to a pet crocodile conveniently hanging out just outside his place. It’s not hard to understand why the crock stays there — Judd becomes agitated often.

This film is outlandish fun and utter chaos. Don’t expect the mood of Tourist Trap or the depth of Motel Hell. Myself, I find a movie where the set is obviously a set has its own unworldly charms. Eaten Alive most definitely has that gritty look we all expect from our ’70s B-movies.

Slasher genre movies have to have something special to interest me, whether it’s the creepy directing in Tourist Trap, the fun and startling imagery of Motel Hell, or the over-the-top strangeness of Eaten Alive. Here are three to recommend, so don’t drive by… pull over and enjoy! Your mileage may vary.


Gary Scott Beatty is a writer and illustrator of strange horror stories who shares art, story, video, and progress updates with those on the Aazurn Fan List. If you’re interested, sign up at strangehorror.com.

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Last Toys on the Left

Will Turner’s Custom Horror Dolls Transform Your Favorite Scream Queens Into Display Figures

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Horror fandom isn’t limited to simply watching your favorite films — more than any other genre, we have seen inspired fans take their appreciation for these films to the creative realm, whether by crafting their own masks or paintings — or by going on to become writers, directors, or special effects artists.

Because of the popularity of mask creation, for example… when referring to the artistry that comes with being a fan, few would point to the creation of dolls. In that sense, Will Turner has carved a niche for himself. As the creative force behind Custom Horror Dolls, Turner transforms the likenesses of your favorite heroines into figures you can display, ensuring the design is fairly representative.

Halloween (1978)

In the last fifteen years or so, we have seen an outpouring of merchandise dedicated to the likes of movie villains… but where’s the love for the scream queens? While Freddy and Jason seem obvious choices for the big toy studios, many have lamented on the fact that final girls such as Laurie Strode and Nancy Thompson have never received the official action figure treatment.

Turner notes, “I started making custom dolls a little over a year ago. I had always wanted a Nancy Thompson doll to go with all the Freddy Krueger action figures I had. I found a Barbie doll that I thought would make a good Nancy, and I bought a small sewing kit. I taught myself to sew and I made her iconic pajamas. [So] I finally had a Nancy to go with my Freddy. After posting a pic online, people started messaging me and wanting to buy the doll, so I sold her and made more. Then I decided to make a Laurie Strode doll and pretty soon, I was making a different doll each week and it took off from there.”

Carrie (1976); A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987); The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Turner’s collection consists of the femme fatales from such franchises as Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream, as well as from other films like PsychoBlack Christmas, Carrie, and many more. “I would say the set of dolls I’m most proud of is the Death Becomes Her set. They were complicated to do and I wasn’t sure that I could pull it off, but I think they turned out pretty good.” 

Death Becomes Her (1992)

Turner’s creations aren’t limited to the leading ladies either; he has also crafted dolls based on The Evil Dead‘s Bruce Campbell and Candyman‘s Tony Todd.

But as for Turner’s favorite final girl? “[Scream]’s Sidney Prescott for sure. She’s like a combination of Nancy Thompson and Laurie Strode. She’s a smart and tough final girl.”

Scream (1996)

As a convention vendor across the States, Turner has showcased some of his work to the respective ladies whose likenesses he has drawn from. “I made an Alice doll from Nightmare on Elm Street 4 and I got the opportunity to give it to Lisa Wilcox in person. She loved it. I’ve also made dolls of Toy Newkirk’s character from Nightmare 4, Jill Schoelen from Popcorn, Adrienne King from Friday the 13th, and a few others and had them delivered to the actors; and they were all impressed and honored. 

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4’s Lisa Wilcox and Will Turner; Popcorn’s Jill Schoelen

“The best reaction was when I gave Amanda Wyss a Tina doll from A Nightmare on Elm Street. She loved it and took it to Robert Englund’s table at the convention. He said it was amazing. I almost fainted.”

Every month Custom Horror Dolls features a giveaway, and starting today, December 12th, Turner will be running a holiday sale lasting though Christmas. With dolls typically priced at $50, Turner’s creations will be going for only $29.99 plus shipping! Considering the craftsmanship, I’d say that’s a pretty good steal. For any character that you don’t see, Turner also does commissions… I may or may not have already picked up my own version of Lindsay Lohan in Machete

SPOILER: I did.

“I’m getting ready to start work on some characters from Halloween III, Pet Sematary, Terror Train, Dawn of the Dead, and The Walking Dead. And I’m working on making a Rocky Horror set to be introduced during the sale.”

If you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift or simply want to keep tabs on Turner’s upcoming creations, be sure to check out the official Custom Horror Dolls website as well as its Facebook page!

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

 

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