Fantasia: Days 5 Through 7 - Dread Central
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Fantasia: Days 5 Through 7



Fantasia 2009 (click for larger image)The first full week of Fantasia kicked off with two highly anticipated Clive Barker adaptations, Book of Blood, directed by John Harrison, and Dread, directed by Anthony DiBlasi.

Both directors were on hand for their packed screenings and afterward answered questions both from the crowd and from Fantasia programmer and Fangoria editor Tony Timpone. As reported earlier, we learned during the Q&A that John Harrison has been tapped to direct a mini-series adaptation of Stephen King’s Cell. Given how faithful his interpretation of Book of Blood (review here) turned out to be, Harrison’s not likely to phone this one in!

Paul had this to say about the Dread screening:

Tuesday night a week of non-stop rain and super shitty weather was, er, “brightened” considerably by the world premiere of Dread, Anthony DiBlasi’s adaptation of the short story from Clive Barker’s Books of Blood. It was the second adaptation of said series in a row, following on the heels of John Harrison’s Book of Blood on Monday night. Of course there will be the whole “which one was better?” discussion in a scheduled pairing like that, and I would definitely say that Dread was the superior film. Book of Blood wasn’t bad, but it felt very traditional and restrained, just a good ol’ yarn at the end of the day. Dread was considerably more ambitious and definitely a lot more contemporary.

Fantasia 2009 (click for larger image)

DiBlasi hosted the screening and shared a few anecdotes and wisecracks with the crowd after the film (which was well received). The most interesting thing he spoke of was the extremely grueling method acting going on in the scene in Dread where Hanne Steen’s character, Cheryl, who faces quite a few brutal situations in this film, meets one particularly revolting demise. I don’t want to say anything more as it’ll be a spoiler, but apparently the footage of this method acting exercise might be edited together as a disturbing short that could end up as an extra on the DVD release of Dread. Remember those stylized weird snuff-porn transmissions in Videodrome? On its own, this footage from Dread might be a bit like that kind of thing minus the S&M sex factor … sounds good to me!

Read Paul’s Dread review here.

On Wednesday we took in the French zombie movie Mutants (review here). They don’t call it humpday for nothing folks; watching this one was like climbing a mound of crap, then having the film reward your efforts by allowing you to slide back down, face first. As we dropped on Twitter (follow @dreadfantasia) after the screening — “M.U.T.A.N.T.S: Most. Unoriginal. Tedious. And. Needless. Travesty. Seen-this-year”. This is a movie that so heedlessly wastes an interesting premise in favor of ripping off other recently successful horror movies that it had Paul and I seething for hours after the screening.

Fantasia 2009 (click for larger image)

In the last three days the most impressive thing we’ve seen is actually an 8-minute short directed by artist Wes Benscoter. Titled Hold Your Fire, this grim anti-war film depicting the isolation and horror of a four-limb amputee is genuinely disconcerting and oddly beautiful. Here’s hoping some of the upcoming features are at least this good.

Thursday and Friday we’ll be seeing Blood River and the insane looking Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (review here), hosted by the always unpredictable Yoshihiro Nishimura, who wore a diaper to his screening last year!

Fantasia 2009 (click for larger image)

Evil Andy

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George A. Romero’s Daughter, Tina, Wrote a Script For Queens of the Dead




The loss last year of director George A. Romero was a huge blow to the horror community, as well as the filmmaking community at large. The passing of the man responsible for creating the modern day zombie and whose work influenced “The Walking Dead”, Dead Alive, 28 Days Later, and Jordan Peele’s Get Out was felt far and wide but we take solace knowing that his work and legacy will live on forever.

Something that brings a smile to my face is hearing that his daughter, Tina, who DJ’s under the name DJ TRx, has written a screenplay for a zombie film that is called Queens of the Dead. And yes, it’s very gay! Romero has not only written the script but also plans on directing the film herself.

Romero tells The Saunder Blog about the film, saying, “Queens of the Dead is a fusion of two huge parts of my world: zombies and Gay nightlife. It’s a tribute to my father as well as my entrée into the genre he grandfathered. I can’t say too much yet, but what I can tell you is that this film will have all the hallmarks of a George A. Romero classic: farce, politics, heroes, assholes, and most importantly, herds of silly and slow moving walkers that you can’t help but love. But I’m doing it Tina-style, and bringing the glitter, choreography, queers & queens.

Romero’s father always brought some sort of social message into his work, so to hear that she will continue that tradition is inspiring, especially since it comes on a topic that is so discussed and topical.

If you want to read more about Romero and her DJ career, click on the link above.

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Wanna See Something REALLY Scary?

Wanna See Something REALLY Scary? Local 58 Contingency Emergency Broadcast



Wanna See Something REALLY Scary

“Wanna see something REALLY scary?”

To horror fans who came of age in the 1980s, the line above instantly evokes memories of Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks in the opening scene from Twilight Zone: The Movie. Now, on a bi-monthly basis, I’ll be asking, “Wanna see something REALLY scary?” with the goal of shocking you with chilling footage plumbed from the darkest corners of YouTube.

As a child of the Cold War born in the 1970s and traumatized by films like The Day After and Threads, I remember immediately panicking every time an Emergency Broadcast broke into a TV show I was watching. That alarming tone made my stomach drop and in the moments before it was confirmed to be “only a test” I had already imagined a barrage of nuclear warheads bursting overhead.

My heart went out to the residents of Hawaii who, due to a false alarm, believed a missile attack was imminent this weekend. For almost 40 minutes, families scrambled into fallout shelters, bathrooms, and even storm drains, believing war had begun between the United States and North Korea. Even after the all-clear was announced and the warning revealed as a mistake, nerves were severely rattled. I can only imagine the potential long-term damage done to the psyches of Hawaii’s youngest residents.

For a taste of the pandemonium that occurred, check out an excerpt from CNN’s reporting below.

While the shock must have been unprecedented for most, a bizarre alert that accidentally aired in the late 1960s puts the Hawaii debacle to shame. What viewers of a local station saw just before the end of programming at 3 am was a message announcing the fall of the US Government, and included instructions for committing suicide rather than surrendering to enemy forces.

Wanna see something REALLY scary?

The message bore the seal of The U.S. Department for the Preservation of American Dignity, included a statement from President Lyndon B. Johnson, and warned that failure to commit suicide as instructed would have consequences:

“Your local law enforcement has been ordered to ensure your compliance,” the message cautioned. “It is against the law to delay.” The final instructions remind adult viewers to put down their children and pets first while promising “There is nothing to fear.” Though the station later posted a statement ensuring viewers the message was a hoax, the potential loss of life this broadcast could have inspired is staggering. Have a look:

If the Local 58 Contingency, as it’s become known, seems too outlandish to be true, that’s because it isn’t. Though the video doesn’t include an admission of fiction, it’s written and directed by Kris Straub. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s the writer of the popular creepypasta Candle Cove, recently adapted into a TV series on SyFy.

Still, the vintage look of the Local 58 Contingency, not to mention the current climate of heightened tensions between American and a rogue nuclear nation, make this video a truly terrifying viewing experience.

Got an idea for a future installment of “Wanna See Something REALLY Scary?” Hit me up on Twitter @josh_millican!

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The Housemaid Haunts a New Trailer



Here’s the thing… if we had the choice between cleaning up our own house or being haunted by a vengeful spectral servant of sorts, well… just hand us a friggin’ mop, wouldja already? Still, in the case of The Housemaid, it looks like nothing is gonna stop her from sensing shivers! Dig on this new trailer.

Derek Nguyen directs the flick, which stars Kate Nhung, Jean-Michel Richaud, Kim Xuan, Svitlana Kovalenko, and Rosie Fellner. Look for IFC Midnight’s release of The Housemaid coming to select theaters, VOD, and via Digital platforms in the U.S. on February 16, 2018.

A forbidden passion awakens vengeful spirits within a haunted mansion in this bloodcurdling, erotic tour-de-force.

Vietnam, 1953: Linh (Nhung Kate), a poor, orphaned young woman, finds employment as a housemaid in a crumbling rubber plantation presided over by the emotionally fragile French officer Sebastien Laurent (Jean-Michel Richaud). Soon, a torrid love affair develops between the two – a taboo romance that rouses the ghost of Laurent’s dead wife, who won’t rest until blood flows.

Submerged in moody Gothic atmosphere, this stylish supernatural saga confronts the dark shadows of Vietnam’s colonial past while delivering heart-stopping scares.

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