31 Days of October Madness Strikes Back! – Part 3 - Dread Central
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31 Days of October Madness Strikes Back! – Part 3

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Drag Me to Hell

We’re less than a week from Halloween as October Madness continue to strike back with a vengeance. One thing that never changes during October are those stressful days at work or school and daily responsibilities that drags our free time down the drain and sucks the life out of us like relentless creatures of the night.

That’s why our October activities that bring us joy are very precious, and I hope these viewing recommendations drive you mad with delight and bring ghoulish joy to your evenings, whether by yourself or surrounded by family and friends. Enjoy!

THE HIDDEN

A great treasure from 1987 that’s ripe for rediscovery from a new audience and a deep critical reevaluation is Jack Sholder’s fun sci-fi horror buddy cop extravaganza The Hidden. Michael Nouri actually turned down playing Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon released in the same year to team up with Kyle MacLachlan (Blue Velvet) in this massively entertaining film, and though it didn’t do many favors for Nouri’s acting career, there is absolutely no one that would have been as perfect in the role of detective Thomas Beck. A homicidal alien parasite is taking over human hosts and spreading chaos on a massive crime spree in LA, and an FBI agent with a personal vendetta teams up with a hardboiled detective to take this extraterrestrial menace down.

Backed by an awesome soundtrack and thrill-inducing momentum that never loses its rhythm, this film works as an action movie, a horror movie, and a sci-fi thriller; and it’s never dull for one second.

The Hidden

VIDEODROME

When looking at David Cronenberg’s body of work, surreal and provocative are words that can apply to just about everything he’s made; however, if I had to choose one of his films as an example of how Cronenberg’s vision can simultaneously work on visceral and intellectual levels, my choice would be Videodrome hands down.

A provocative and unsettling film that explores our relationship with technology and our government in brutal and honest ways, Videodrome forces us to confront ourselves and truly question our place in the world on a spiritual level and confront our mental health in the process. This truly terrifying journey into bizarre mind-control conspiracies and morbid hallucinations is a masterwork by Cronenberg with fantastic performances by James Woods and Debbie Harry with superb special makeup effects by Rick Baker and a hypnotic score by Howard Shore. This film becomes more fascinating with every viewing and will no doubt stick with you and haunt your dreams.

Videodrome

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN

My movie-obsessed uncle gave me a VHS copy of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein when I was eight or nine, and I ended up watching it so much I wore the tape out. Quentin Tarantino said that this was the film that introduced him to the concept of mixing movie genres, and on a subconscious level I could very much say that I was on the same page. Universal’s swan song of sorts for Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster, this 1948 classic is timeless and a great example of how to do horror-comedy right.

The titular comedic duo play freight handlers Wilbur Grey and Chick Young, who end up on the unfortunate receiving end of some cargo from Europe that contains the remains of Frankenstein’s Monster and Dracula to be delivered to a horror house attraction.  But then Dracula awakens and escapes with the Monster, and all hell breaks loose. Everything is played completely straight around Abbott and Costello’s hilarious antics, and as a result it stands as a classic horror film that has just the right amount of laughs and chills to be rediscovered again and again with each passing generation. The welcome return of Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Jr., and Glenn Strange made this film a dream come true for any Universal monster movie fan, and this is a perfect choice to introduce your young ones to the wonderful world of horror.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

DRAG ME TO HELL

From the moment after the old Universal logo made its presence welcome, I was immediately struck by this passionate love letter to the old-fashioned macabre with humor, energy, and bite from Sam Raimi; and when it was over, I was grinning from ear to ear. A morality tale of sorts that wouldn’t be out of place in the pages of Tales from the Crypt, Drag Me to Hell tells the tale of Christine Brown, a well-meaning woman who wants to prove to her boss that she’s not too weak to fulfill the demands of her job. She unfortunately finds herself cursed by a Hungarian gypsy after denying her loan extension and finds herself being stalked by a vicious demon as she is brutally tormented for three days before being beckoned to hell.

Raimi is back with most of his old crew from The Evil Dead, and it’s obvious he was having an absolute blast making this entertaining movie that is sometimes disgusting, often times chilling, and always loads of fun.

Drag Me to Hell

AUDITION

If you have not seen Takashi Miike’s horrific psychological masterpiece Audition, this is your warning to stop reading; the less you know about this film before seeing it, the stronger the overall impact of your viewing experience will be. Shigeharu Aoyama is a lonely widower whose sympathetic son and film producer friend set up a phony film audition for Shigeharu to meet an ideal partner to date and help get over his grief.  When he meets Asami, he slowly comes to realize that some thing are too good to be true.

Japanese company Omega Project had great financial success with The Ring and hired screenwriter Daisuke Tengan and director Miike to adapt Ryu Murakami’s book in hopes of having another horror movie smash on their hands. They ended up with a film that is not only acclaimed critically but has become quite influential in its wake. This is a film that slowly gets under your skin without notice and then hits you like a sledgehammer, leaving you helplessly in awe and disarray. I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

Audition

BUBBA HO-TEP

It certainly takes something to pull off a film adaptation of this bizarre and wacky short story by Joe R. Lansdale centered around Elvis and JFK in a nursing home forced to fight an ancient Egyptian monster who’s been using their resting home as a feeding ground to enslave the souls of their friends, but if anyone was the right guy for the job, it was Don Coscarelli. Bubba Ho-Tep is extremely low budget and doesn’t have the benefit of using licensed Elvis Presley music or the rights to use footage from Elvis Presley movies, but it does have two dedicated lead actors in the form of Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis, who not only are entirely empathetic and likable but also are completely the heart of this movie, which centers all of the absurdity around them.

Crass and heartwarming, morbid and hilarious, you can’t go wrong with this gem from the director of Phantasm.

Bubba Ho-Tep

KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE

Sibling special effects artists The Chiodo Brothers, known for their visually impressive effects work like the Large Marge claymation sequence in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and their amazing puppet work in Critters, directed one movie that was all they needed to cement their cult status, and that movie is Killer Klowns from Outer Space. I by no means have the common phobia of clowns that seems to be the norm nowadays, but even I was creeped out by these alien monstrosities, and I’ll be damned if they didn’t haunt my dreams from time to time.

Suzanne Snyder of Weird Science and John Vernon of National Lampoon’s Animal House have noteworthy roles in this dazzling creature feature that conjures up disturbing circus tropes and assaults the nervous audience with everything from human snacks in cotton candy cocoons to weaponized pies, and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. This is a loving tribute to sci-fi films of the Cold War era with an Eighties punk attitude and a morbid sense of humor that features a catchy theme song from The Dickies that will be stuck in your head for weeks.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space

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Trailer Takes Us DOWN A DARK HALL With AnnaSophia Robb and Uma Thurman

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It was just the other day that we shared your first look at producer Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) and director Rodrigo Cortés’ (Buried) adaptation of I Know What You Did Last Summer author Lois Duncan’s  Down a Dark Hall

The film stars AnnaSophia Robb (The Reaping), Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan), Taylor Russell (Netflix’s Lost in Space) and Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction). And today we have the film’s trailer and poster!

You can check out the poster to the right and the trailer below and then make sure to let us know what you think below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

Down a Dark Hall is directed by Rodrigo Cortés from a screenplay by Mike Goldbach and Chris Sparling based on the book by Lois Duncan and stars AnnaSophia Robb, Isabelle Fuhrman, Victoria Moroles, Noah Silver, Taylor Russell, Rosie Day, and Uma Thurman. It’s produced by Stephenie Meyer, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Meghan Hibbett, and Adrián Guerra.

The film hits theaters, On Demand, and iTunes August 17th.

Synopsis:

Kit (Robb), a difficult young girl, is sent to the mysterious Blackwood Boarding School when her heated temper becomes too much for her mother to handle. Once she arrives at Blackwood, Kit encounters eccentric headmistress Madame Duret (Thurman) and meets the school’s only other students, four young women also headed down a troubled path. While exploring the labyrinthine corridors of the school, Kit and her classmates discover that Blackwood Manor hides an age-old secret rooted in the paranormal.

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Tom Six Reveals “Vile” THE ONANIA CLUB…So What?

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Tom Six of The Human Centipede fame is coming back to theaters with The Onania Club, a film he promises will be, “…one of the most vile, inhumane movie experiences of all time.” IndieWire revealed the news, which adds that the film is produced by Tom Six and Ilona Six through Six Entertainment Company.

Details are being kept secret for now but the site says Six will bring a psychological thriller that will feature, “…mostly strong female characters” and that it will, “…definitely pass the Bechdel test with flying colors.” Starring in the film are Jessica Morris, Darcy DeMoss, Deborah Twiss, Karen Strassman, and Flo Lawrence.

Let me try and gather all my thoughts here because this is hitting some notes that I’m frankly not really feeling. I’ll try to organize this as best I can.

…[a] vile, inhumane movie experience…
If that’s what Tom Six is aiming for, my interest has already dropped by a huge percentage. I didn’t see The Human Centipede in theaters but I saw it after it hit home video. It wasn’t a gross movie but it had a gross premise, which I honestly thought made it more interesting. Then came along The Human Centipede 2, which I did see in theaters. I found it to be a brilliant response to those who were disappointed by the lack of vomit-inducing moments in the first film and who demanded it be more grotesque. Once they got it, they felt like it had gone too far, which made me want to point and say, “Trust filmmakers. They very often make decisions because they know how to do it right.” That being said, I think it’s a bad, unpleasant, mean-spirited movie. I never bothered with The Human Centipede 3 because of shockingly bad reviews and even worse word-of-mouth from friends and the horror community.

If Six’s goal is to create a movie experience that will haunt and disgust audiences, then my immediate concern is that there is no story to back up the intention. Hell, the announcement is more focused on creating a spectacle than it is on letting people know what the film is actually about. It’s Marketing 101 and as a horror fan for my entire life, I find it almost offensive that the idea of “gross first, everything else second” is being pushed in the initial blitz.

I have no problems whatsoever with gore, viscera, or shocking scenes. Martyrs, I Saw The Devil, The Thing, and the like are all great examples of movies that push a lot of envelopes but never fail to have fascinating concepts backing everything up. There is purpose in their horror. There is method to their madness. So far, Six isn’t inspiring much faith that The Onania Club will walk down that kind of path.

…[it will] pass the Bechdel test with flying colors…
The Bechdel Test, for those who don’t know, is a test within films that sees if there are two, or more, women talk to each other about something other than men. That’s it. Two women in a coffee shop spend 30 seconds talking about a book? Your movie passes. A group of teenage girls discuss what they’re going to wear at an upcoming high school dance? Pass. Ronda Rousey and Michelle Rodriguez trade barbs before beating each other senseless. Check.

While noble in intention, the Bechdel Test is a shockingly low barometer for movies to be considered women-friendly. It doesn’t ask for nuance or depth. It doesn’t set any expectations for emotion or drive. If Six thinks that his movie is a landmark simply because it passes the Bechdel Test, he clearly doesn’t know that horror has been doing this for a long time. And from reading about Bree Olson’s character in The Human Centipede 3 (the only woman in the IMDb credit list), and taking into account the female characters of the first two films in that series, I think one can understand my lack of faith when it comes to Six and women in his films.

I am fully aware of how negative and critical I sound here and I really do hope that I’m going to be proven wrong. Every film should be allowed the chance to stand on its own merits. Hopefully The Onania Club will see Six give us a film that will generate interesting conversation for years to come. But until more is revealed, my expectations are very low.

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Ben Hanscom Has Been Cast in IT: CHAPTER 2

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Some fun news out of Deadline as the site has reported that Jay Ryan (Mary Kills People) has been cast as the adult Ben Hanscom in It: Chapter 2. He joins Jessica Chastain, Andy Bean, James Ransone, James McAvoy, and Bill Hader, who will be playing Beverly, Stanley, Eddie, Bill, and Richie, respectively. Bill Skarsgard will also be back as Pennywise.

Andy Muschietti will be directing based on a script by Gary Dauberman (Annabelle: Creation) with a planned release date of September 6, 2019, almost two years to the day after the release of the first film.

It was a massive success, earning just over $700 million globally against a $35 million budget. That film starred Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs, Nicholas Hamilton, Owen Teague, Javier Botet, and Steven Williams.

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