'Zine Review: Rue Morgue #91 - Dread Central
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‘Zine Review: Rue Morgue #91

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'Zine Review: Rue Morgue #91 (click for larger image)Issue #91
July 2009


It’s only fitting that the sole Canadian amongst the rest of these DC yankie yahoos would eventually wind up writing the monthly recap of Rue-Morgue magazine. It’s especially apropos, given my primary contribution to Dread Central, that the first issue I’m reviewing happens to contain not only an overview of the upcoming Fantasia film festival, but also a seriously kick ass article from Fantasia’s resident renegade programmer, Mitch Davis.

But before that, let’s start off with Jovanka’s editorial. The July issue cover story is a 10 year retrospective of The Blair Witch Project. As is her habit, Jovanka is honest in her assessment of Blair Witch; she didn’t really like it when she first saw it. I can’t say I disagree. I missed the internet marketing blitz by being out of the country, and without it, the film really fell flat. However, like Jovanka, I found that the film improved by its transition to DVD. In the end, the most interesting thing about this “Notes from Underground” is that it might be the first one I can remember where it’s clear that Jovanka isn’t passionate about her subject matter. One gets the impression that this issue is really managing editor Dave Alexander’s baby, which is a cool little departure, as it gives the issue a different feeling overall.

Up next is a two page overview of Montreal’s Fantasia film festival. This is Fantasia’s thirteenth year, which, according to Mitch Davis, is actually a lucky number for the festival, with programming overflowing to the point that they had to add extra days. Davis discusses dealing with competition from the Venice Film Festival, which often results in films that are later rejected at Venice not being shown anywhere. Any filmmaker that has screened at Fantasia would know better; the vehemently appreciative fans at Fantasia can create a word of mouth buzz stronger than any commercial showing at Venice is likely to achieve. There’s a pretty great lineup this year, which we’ll be covering extensively in our regular blog coverage, but to set it up, the festival kicks off with Takashi Miike’s Yatterman, the Clive Barker double feature Book of Blood and Dread, and Davis’ favorite of the festival Must Love Death. Also screening is Norwegian zombie movie Dead Snow (chronicled in last month’s Rue-Morgue), Sion Sono’s 4 hour opus, Love Exposure, and managing editor Dave Alexander’s short film world premiere Fallow. Finally, Buddy Giovinazzo will be screening his personal print of Combat Shock, and his new film Life is Hot in Cracktown.

Davis is not only interviewed in this issue, but he also pens the article “Portrait of an American Nightmare” in which he interviews Giovinazzo about making Combat Shock, and the upcoming Troma release of the expanded cut, with the original restored title American Nightmares. I have to admit, somewhat abashedly, that I’ve never seen Combat Shock. I’ll be remedying this sorry situation in fine style, since the first time I’m going to see it will be in a huge screening room, with 700 other fans, watching the director’s personal print. If the film is all it’s cracked up to be, Fantasia fans, myself included, will be in for a sleazy treat.

Moving on, The Blair Witch Project cover story proves an interesting article about a movie that is probably more renowned in mainstream circles these days, than by horror fans. The article does a good job of reminding us that there might not be a Cloverfield, Quarantine, or Diary of the Dead, without Blair Witch, and it also doesn’t shy away from reminding the filmmakers, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez that there likely wouldn’t have been a Blair Witch Project without Cannibal Holocaust. Interestingly, the directors proclaim that they had not seen Cannibal Holocaust prior to making their film, and wonder if they would have made Blair Witch at all had they known the similarities.

Somewhat depressingly the article goes on to discuss what various members of the Blair Witch crew are up to these days, and despite having been part of the most successful indie movie of all time, neither the actors or directors seem to be able to capitalize on it. Michael C. Williams, the “standing in the corner at the end of the film” guy is working as a furniture mover, and Sanchez and Myrick’s latest movies are Blair Witch rip offs, set in China and Afghanistan respectively.

Other articles in this issue include:

  • A great write-up about the Halloween inspired art book October Shadows (the Rick Baker digital painting You found me” is worth the price of admission alone)
  • A somewhat forced article about modern death masks (which unsurprisingly don’t seem to be catching on);
  • A lovingly crafted full page review of the upcoming Criterion reissue of Polanski’s Repulsion
  • A Bowen’s Basement that actually had me giggling out loud. That guy might actually be starting to work on me.
  • A review of yet another zombie survival guide, titled The Zombie Handbook. This one does seem to distinguish itself from the others due to some cool looking Return of the Living Dead style artwork though.
  • The July issue ends, in fine fashion with a “Classic Cut” from Bowen, who impresses yet again by reminding readers of the influence Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs has had on traditional horror films. He makes the argument that The Exorcist, despite being more revered by horror fans, is actually an inferior film to Straw Dogs due to its more clear cut morality. He goes on to ask why it is that Peckinpah’s own The Wild Bunch, a more graphically violent film, was (and likely remains) the less controversial of the two movies. It’s articles like this that highlight that the grey-zone of sexuality continues to be less explored than hardcore violence that make me proud that such an incredibly amazing horror ‘rag such as this comes from Canada.

    Hit the official Rue Morgue site for more info and to get yourself a subscription!

    Until next month …

    Evil Andy

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    New God of War Story Trailer Calls to You

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    This morning, Sony unleashed a new trailer for God of War 4, the upcoming continuation of the story of Kratos. Full of rich, vibrant, and epic imagery, the trailer expands on the dynamics we’ll be seeing at play in this game, mainly the struggle of Kratos being a father and choosing how, and when, to reveal his Godliness to his son, Atreus. All of this takes place as they embark on a journey to fulfill the last wishes of Kratos’ late wife, who wished for her ashes to be spread in a distant location.

    Directed by Cory Barlog, God of War 4 will be the first entry in the franchise to not feature Terrence C. Carson as the voice of Kratos. Rather, that responsibility has now fallen upon Christopher Judge (Dead Space: Aftermath, Reaper), who also provided the motion capture for the character.

    A Playstation 4 exclusive, God of War 4 will be coming to the console on April 20 this year.

    Synopsis:
    Living as a man outside the shadow of the gods, Kratos must adapt to unfamiliar lands, unexpected threats, and a second chance at being a father. Together with his son Atreus, the pair will venture into the brutal Norse wilds and fight to fulfill a deeply personal quest.

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    French Thriller Series Glacé Now Streaming on Netflix as The Frozen Dead

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    New to Netflix this month to kickoff the year for the killer crime genre and miniseries streams, is “The Frozen Dead,” translated from its original French title, “Glacé.” It made its debut on our screens as the next foreign language series to bring us chills and thrills since the German-language time travel series, “Dark,” released in October of 2017. It looks like we can look forward to more of these international inclusions on our bloody palette.

    So, if you are looking for a serial slasher in an icy setting to hold you over this winter and give you an investigative mystery fix, watch “The Frozen Dead” for a six-episode look at the bloody chaos the mind of a disturbed killer spews on The French Pyrenees.

    From the very first introductory scene and the creepy children’s chorus that accompanies the goosebumps – inducing snowstorm view that is in the show’s theme, the eerie tone is set pretty early on. If that does not offer enough incentive to go watch, the camerawork and imagery alone throughout the show are incredible and worth appreciating. These striking visuals are significant if you know it is a television adaptation based on Bernard Minier’s dark novel. All-embracing, the series carries an increase in dread and suspense all throughout, so be prepared to be uncomfortable and most of all, confused as you unravel.

    If you happen to enjoy this chilling setting that forces a detective to confront an unsettling past, you’ll be happy to know I found that same cold-evoking, murder mystery intrigue in Christopher Nolan’s work on Insomnia (2002), a film in which Robin Williams unconventionally and successfully jarringly plays the enigmatic man being chased by Al Pacino’s detective character. There’s a film to check out (if you haven’t already that is) if that parallelism interests you – after bingeing the six hours of “The Frozen Dead” that is.

    Synopsis:
    A grisly find atop a mountain in the French Pyrenees leads investigator Martin Servaz into a twisted dance with a serial killer in this icy thriller. Starring Charles Berling and Julia Piaton. Available now on Netflix.

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    We Need to Stop Our Alarming Obsession With Child Actors

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    On Sunday, January 21, Buzzfeed tweeted an article with the byline “Millie Bobby Brown just Insta-confirmed her relationship with Jacob Sartorius and I have butterflies”. Quite quickly, the tweet was met with a barrage of comments, ranging from mild tuts that it was in poor taste to extreme condemnations of pedophilia and sexualization of a minor (Brown is 13-years-old as of this post). I personally weighed in on the matter.

    Earlier that day, CNN ran a video and story where actress/director/producer Natalie Portman opened up about her own experiences being a young girl in Hollywood. Portman’s breakout role was at 12-years-old in The Professional, a movie that celebrated her phenomenal acting abilities. Per CNN, she received her first fan letter a year later, after the film had come out. In it was a rape fantasy. Her local radio show began counting down the time until her 18th birthday, when she would be of legal age. Mind you, she was 13 when all of this was happening, the same age as Millie Bobby Brown.

    The parallels between these two stories should immediately be understood and seen. The sexualization and fanatical obsession with children, much less celebrities, is a plague that can only cause damage and harm to those who are on the receiving end. It is time that we recognize that this practice needs to stop. It is time that we all held ourselves accountable.

    A cursory search of Browns’ name on Buzzfeed will bring up at least 50 separate articles, on top of the one previously mentioned. These include what was said between “Stranger Things” co-star Finn Wolfhard and herself before their kiss in the second season. There’s a strange obsession with Brown’s instagram account and the conversations between her and other celebrities. There’s even one that states Brown looks like a young Natalie Portman. The irony here is undeniable and it seems very difficult to say that the site doesn’t have an obsession with the young actress.

    Hollywood is under a great deal of pressure, rightfully so, from the #MeToo movement as well as Corey Feldman’s pursuit of revealing the truth about widespread pedophilia in that world (watch as he’s shut down by Barbara Walters). His claims have been echoed by Elijah Wood, although he himself states he did not suffer at the hands of any abusers.

    Eliza Dushku’s alleged abuser Joel Kramer was recently let go from his agency twenty years after supposed events took place. When those who wonder why the actress didn’t come forward sooner, they overlook the fact that she went to authorities at that time. She details everything in an emotional post on her Facebook page.

    The issue, however, does not just lie within those who create in Hollywood. It is exacerbated and pushed on by those who report on Hollywood’s actions and those that read it, lapping up the non-news proclamations with unabashed glee, not recognizing that they are feeding the same system that many are fighting against. Then, even more worrying, is that these “fans” feel entitled to these children, as though they are objects for their pleasure at any time, puppets that need to dance when beckoned.

    Sophie Turner weighed in with her thoughts on the matter:


    Wolfhard himself has asked that the infatuation and near assault of him and his co-workers come to an end:


    And yet even on that particular tweet, Wolfhard’s fans responded with, “Ma babe trust no body“, “I love the right person bixo ♡“, “Love you finn“, and more. “Fans” are declaring their love for a 14-year-old boy that they’ve never met, a person that they’ve only really seen playing someone other than himself.

    A culture has been established and reinforced that celebrities are somehow open for our sycophantic obsessions. This needs to stop. We need only to remember our own experiences as children so that we can apply them to these kids today. As Kevin Brown so wonderfully put it on Twitter:

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