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Dread Central’s Best and Worst Horror Films of 2015



Dread Central Best Worst 2015

Todd Rigney

The Best

I’m a huge fan of Sion Sono’s work, and while I’ll be the first to admit that the ending didn’t bring everything together in an orderly fashion, I’m still of the belief that Tag is a fantastic cinematic experience. Featuring special effects work from Tokyo Gore Police director Yoshihiro Nishimura, Sono’s endeavor hits a lot of high notes, but it’s nearly impossible to top the film’s opening sequence. That said, model-turned-actress Reina Triendi steals the show as Mitsuko, a Japanese schoolgirl who finds herself thrust into a situation that turns her existence upside down. It’s a thinking man’s gore flick, for lack of a much better term; and in my opinion, it works. Tag will likely hit the States sometime next year, so if you have a chance to catch it at a festival, definitely give it a shot.

Yakuza Apocalypse
I’ll probably catch hell from a lot of people for including this one on my “best of” list, but I honestly don’t care. Takashi Miike’s yakuza-flavored vampire Yakuza Apocalypse (or is that vampire-flavored yakuza flick?) is easily one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen all year. And while it doesn’t necessarily hit everything out of the park, it’s the most fun I’ve had watching a movie all by my lonesome in quite some time. It’s not exactly scary, but there is enough action and blood-letting to keep horror fans satisfied for the duration. It’s not as accomplished as Audition, Gozu, As the Gods Will, or Lesson of the Evil, but it’s still a strong effort from a veteran director who continues to impress. Even if you’ve grown tired of Japanese cinema and hate vampires, Yakuza Apocalypse is worth a look.

Bone TomahawkBone Tomahawk
When someone takes the horror and western genres and slams them together, I get excited. Unfortunately, there really aren’t too many noteworthy examples to share with friends and family. However, that all changed with Bone Tomahawk, a film that finds a group of certified badasses battling a group of cave-dwelling cannibals. And, yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds. Not only is the direction top-notch, viewers are also treated to an all-star cast, including Matthew Fox, Patrick Wilson, and of course, Kurt Russell. The film should have made a bigger splash than it did among horror fans, but hopefully this is a movie people will slowly discover as the months and years wear on. Bone Tomahawk is probably one of the best flicks I encountered this year.

It Follows
Although some folks claim that It Follows was nothing more than a lukewarm horror flick bolstered by an incredible amount of hype, I had an absolute blast with the film. The idea of a sexually transmitted haunting is pretty cool, although writer/director David Robert Mitchell’s execution sometimes leaves a little to be desired. That said, Maika Monroe’s performance is engaging, and she’s essentially what helps keep this premise from falling apart at the seams. Had Mitchell given us a cranky, unlikable character who whined incessantly about her plight, It Follows would have crumbled to dust as soon as the relentless supernatural stalking began. I can understand why some people weren’t thrilled with the finished product, but I was thoroughly impressed throughout. What’s more, the movie seems to get stronger with repeat viewings.

Hands down, writer/director Jason Lei Howden’s Deathgasm is the most fun I’ve had with a horror film this year. Bone Tomahawk may have delivered more thrills and chills, but Deathgasm was an absolute blast from start to finish. The flick is equal parts a love song to the horror genre and metalheads, and it treats each with tender, loving care. And while the film may frequently wear its influences painfully on its cinematic sleeve, Howden and his dedicated cast and crew do their best to deliver the sort of gory horror/comedy that made invokes the best of both Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson — before they decided to start making bloated Hollywood blockbusters. I find myself wanting to watch Deathgasm again and again, which means I need someone to invent more hours in the day as soon as possible.

The Worst

The VisitThe Visit
Not only was M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit one of the absolute worst horror movies to hit the big screen in 2015, it’s an easy contender for the most pathetic attempt at terror in many years. I should have jumped shipped when the dopey white kid started rapping on the train, but somehow I managed to stick with it. The only notable scene involved a messy adult diaper, and instead of generating fear, it evoked a wave of unintentional comedy. If this isn’t the final nail in Shyamalan’s career, then everyone deserves to get screwed when they pay to see his films. Whatever talent this guy had disappeared years ago. It’s time to forget he exists. Unless you’re looking for a comedy, The Visit is certainly one to cross off your must-see list.

The Green Inferno
I haven’t liked an Eli Roth flick since Cabin Fever, but I thought The Green Inferno would finally lend some validity to the hype that surrounds the filmmaker on a regular basis. And while the film has a very promising setup, Roth doesn’t really know how to the handle the cannibalistic aspects of the story. What we get are rehashed ideas from superior movies, a few uncomfortable sequences (masturbation, anyone?), and an ending that suggests Roth and his co-writer had no idea what they wanted to do with their endeavor. The flick isn’t nearly as shocking or revolting as it thinks it is and seems quite tame in this day and age. Besides, director Jonathan Hensleigh’s 2007’s like-minded flick Welcome to the Jungle did it better anyway.

We Are Still Here
There’s a strong possibility that hype may have derailed this one, but the film was so utterly boring that I’m not willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. We Are Still Here certainly sports an intriguing premise, but it takes way too long to get to the point. And by the time its secrets are revealed, they’re so ham-fisted and borderline ridiculous that you feel as though you could have spent your time more wisely elsewhere. I understand I’m probably in the minority here, and the film certainly has its share of fans, but it still sticks in my mind as one of this year’s most surprising disappointments. I love the cast, so it’s a shame the story didn’t give them enough interesting things to do.

Knock, Knock
I imagine that Eli Roth writes most of his movies with a raging and potentially painful erection, and none of his films illustrate that scenario better than Knock, Knock, the second misfire this year from one of the horror genre’s most overrated filmmakers. All of the director’s staples are here, though this time around he forces Keanu Reeves — who looks bored beyond belief — to endure a scenario that seems to have been penned by a 13-year-old boy who just discovered horror and boobs. You can’t fault for Roth pandering directly to his audience (whoever they are), but he could at least give them something worth watching in the process. Knock, Knock is up there with The Visit as one of the worst theatrically released horror movies in recent memory. And, yes, I’m aware the Paranormal Activity series exists.

Talk about a missed opportunity. Director Benni Diez’s wannabe creature feature Stung is crippled by an assortment of unlikable characters. And while that’s not always a bad thing, the film’s twenty-something hero is so pathetic that it’s hard for the audience to feel anything other than contempt for the guy. And when you sit down with a movie about giant mosquitoes, the last thing on earth you want to feel is bored. Unfortunately, Stung is a 90-minute exercise in what you shouldn’t do with your monster movie. Am I being too hard to Diez and his goofy little flick? Perhaps. But when you bore me to tears and force me to sit through a movie packed with paper-thin, cookie-cutter characters, that’s kind of what happens. I’m sure there are worse movies out there, but I doubt any of them are as dull.

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Amazon Developing Stephen King’s The Dark Tower TV Series



The Dark TowerIt’s been a while since we brought you guys an update on the planned TV series based on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower book series.

But today it looks like we have confirmation via Deadline that, “Amazon… is developing a slew of high-profile titles, including The Dark Tower…”

The series is being developed by Amazon as part of their bid to move into bigger budgeted spectacles ala their recent acquisition of the rights to The Lord of the Rings.

No further info is available at this time but we will keep you up to date as we hear word on Amazon’s “The Dark Tower.”

Are you excited about this series? Let us know below!


Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey), also known as the Man in Black. The Gunslinger must prevent the Man in Black from toppling the Dark Tower, the key that holds the universe together. With the fate of worlds at stake, two men collide in the ultimate battle between good and evil.


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Rutger Hauer Says There Was No Love and No Soul in Blade Runner 2049



I don’t know about you, but I dug the hell out of last summer’s Blade Runner 2049. I found the film to be a tonally perfect addition to the Blade Runner universe and appreciated how it built on the story established in the original film.

That said, there are some out there that aren’t fans of the sequel – most of all, it seems, is the original film’s baddie, Rutger Hauer.

Recently, Hauer spoke with THR and didn’t hold back on his dislike of the new film.

“I sniff and scratch at it,” Hauer says. “It looks great, but I struggle to see why that film was necessary. I just think if something is so beautiful, you should just leave it alone and make another film. Don’t lean with one elbow on the success that was earned over 30 years in the underground.”

He continues: “In many ways Blade Runner wasn’t about the replicants; it was about what does it mean to be human? It’s like E.T. But I’m not certain what the question was in the second Blade Runner. It’s not a character-driven movie and there’s no humor, there’s no love, there’s no soul. You can see the homage to the original. But that’s not enough to me. I knew that wasn’t going to work. But I think it’s not important what I think.”

Wow, don’t hold back, Hauer. Tell us how you really feel!

I’m kidding. And while I don’t agree with Hauer on this particular issue, the man has more than earned the right to think it IS “important what [he] thinks.

Do you agree with Rutger Hauer on Blade Runner 2049? Let us know below!

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.


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Ash vs Evil Dead Set Visit Part 2: Learning About Kelly, Pablo, and Brandy



If you haven’t read through the first part of my set visit for the third season of “Ash vs Evil Dead”, make sure to do so here.

After walking through the halls of Brandy’s high school, the sperm bank clinic that has been seen in the trailer, Brock’s house, and the streets of Elk Grove (all through the magic of set designs), it was time to sit down with stars Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago, who told me about their characters Kelly and Pablo through this season of “Ash vs Evil Dead”! Oh, and there’s also a lot from Arielle Carver-O’Neill about her character Brandy as well, because who can resist hearing from Ash’s daughter?

After finding out that Dana, who is from Youngstown, Ohio, is a fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes, our interview nearly ended. After all, your boy is a Wolverine, through and through, and anyone who knows sports rivalries knows that Buckeyes and Wolverines don’t get along. That being said, we managed to put aside our differences so that I could learn a bit about Kelly and what she’ll be going through this season.

I really loved Kelly’s journey in season one and two. It was very exciting to play because, in a way, it mirrored my own as an actor coming into a franchise like this. Just like Kelly was dragged into this fight against evil and was caught completely off guard, it was very similar to the actor struggling for 10 years. I was living in Los Angeles working at a bar when I got this job. All of a sudden I’m being thrown into this with this incredible franchise, with the amazing producers of Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, where a franchise that’s built upon one man, a lone wolf as we’ve said, who is the star of this show and now he’s going to have sidekicks, that was terrifying as well! But it was really cool because I feel like I got to grow with Kelly and every time Kelly did something new, it was me doing something new,” DeLorenzo explains.

Expanding on that, DeLorenzo starts telling me more about Kelly and how she specifically changes through the upcoming season, saying, “At the end of season two, there’s the parade. And if you look, you can see that Kelly isn’t happy. Kelly is the smart one of that trifecta, the ghostbeaters. She knows that evil is not gone for good, which brings us to season three. Now that she’s tasted blood, she’s constantly chasing that high. So, at the start of season three, Kelly is a warrior without a war. She wants to stay on her game for when evil comes back. Her journey for season three…evil paints Kelly in a bloody corner and sets up her to fail where she can’t do what she does best, which is kick evil’s ass. She’s put in these catch-22 situations that she can’t fight her way out of without someone she cares about getting hurt. I think fans will be shocked at her transformation [this season].”

The theme of family running throughout this season of the show is not lost on DeLorenzo, who recognizes that Kelly’s ultimate purpose throughout this series is called into question through events that she wasn’t able to elaborate upon. However, she did tell me, “It was always about protecting and staying by the side of Ash and Pablo because they are not her family by blood but they are her family by bloodshed.

When describing the ghostbeaters, she calls Ash the “brawn”, Pablo the “heart”, and Kelly the “brains”. Later, as I sat with Arielle Carver-O’Neill, I asked what Brandy represents, to which she stated, “the hope”. “They all become very protective of Brandy and are very supportive of her journey,” Carver-O’Neill explains.

I asked her to envision a world where a fourth season is confirmed and how she’d like to see Brandy’s role expanded. Pondering this for a couple of moments, she then told me, “I’d like to see her find herself a bit more. I think just because she’s a teenager, you go through that journey at that age where you are figuring out who you are and your parents, either consciously or unconsciously, play a large role in that. For her, she only had her mum and then she found parts of herself in her dad. But she’s got a lot of growing up to do and I think that’d be really fun to explore how she goes about that.

For Santiago, the character and evolution of Pablo throughout the series has a very personal meaning for him. “As a kid, I grew up watching horror films and I always wanted to be the hero saving people from the monster and I always wanted to be the person chased by the monster. I think, in this show, I have the opportunity do that every day as Pablo and I’m one step closer to becoming the superhero I wanted to be as a kid,” he states.

As for his evolution, Santiago sees Pablo as going from a pushover in the first season to someone very important and potentially very powerful in the third season. “We’ve seen Pablo go from this naive guy [in the first season] that’s pushed through the ringer to last season and…the Necronomicon and Pablo have an undeniable relationship that will never end. As we move into this third season, Pablo sees things differently. He’s not just tormented by his visions of darkness, we see that he may not be just a sidekick but also psychic! We’re going back to his family and we callback to his roots. Perhaps it wasn’t just a coincidence that he met Ash and that he himself was always destined to be somewhat of a Jefé. I think season three is where we see all that coming to fruition. He’s not just along for the ride, he’s become an integral part of the team.

Part III of our set visit coming soon!


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