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Associate Producer Dan Tovar Talks New Splatterhouse



November 23rd, 2010, cannot get here soon enough for gamers! Why, you ask? Because that’s when Namco finally delivers its latest iteration of the classic Splatterhouse to blood-hungry fans!

Recently our own Mr. Dark sat down with Associate Producer Dan Tovar to talk about the reimagining of this truly killer franchise! Curious as to what to expect? Get ready for the goods!

Dread Central: For those who aren’t familiar with Splatterhouse, give us the lowdown on what we’re in for.

Dan Tovar: Splatterhouse is a revival of the classic arcade game from the late 1980’s. You play as Rick Taylor, who was just a regular college student until he and his girlfriend, Jennifer, go to the West Mansion to meet the mysterious Dr. West. When they arrive, they are attacked by monsters, and Rick is left to die while Jennifer is kidnapped. During the scuffle an ancient Terror Mask is knocked into Rick’s blood, and it awakens an entity that had been trapped there for centuries. Rick puts the mask on after he is promised life, power and the ability to save the love of his life. He is transformed into a monstrous brute capable of enduring hell and sets off to find his girl and exact revenge on the man who killed him.

Associate Producer Dan Tovar Talks New Splatterhouse

DC: Being a remake, can you tell us about some of the elements taken from the original three games that we can expect to see in the new title?

DT: We used the original Splatterhouse games as inspiration and direct reference while developing the update. We identified a number of critical elements that were iconic to the franchise and therefore were must-haves for the modern game. Settings, characters, weapons, moves and even music were all on the list. Players who loved the originals will no doubt recognize a lot of familiar elements while playing through the game. That being said, we wanted to be competitive and fun in today’s game market so there is a ton of new stuff for people to sink their teeth into.

DC: Based on the ESRB description, it sounds like this one really pushes the envelope for content in a game. Was there anything that wound up on the cutting room floor because it was just too extreme?

DT: For us it was a bit of the opposite. A lot of the stuff that didn’t make the game was stuff that was not extreme enough. We re-worked a lot of assets and elements to make sure they fit in with the wet and gory nature of the game. Some environments that would not be polished enough in time did not make it in. Some of the moves were just not brutal enough so those got left behind. Some weapons looked puny and insignificant in Rick’s monstrous hands so we had to move on. And some monsters themselves just didn’t seem nasty and savage enough to be a challenge to a brawler like Rick so they were dropped.

DC: We have to ask: The game started with BottleRocket Entertainment then moved internal. How much of that original effort still exists in the game today? Was it a total re-work in the last year and a half or so?

DT: There are definitely still elements from the original development still in the game. The story arc, characters and overall intention are still there. We did update the character art, level art and general design. There was a lot of re-work that went into making all the elements work together, and having two separate phases of development was quite challenging to say the least. But everyone worked hard in the end, and we are all proud of what came out.

Associate Producer Dan Tovar Talks New Splatterhouse

DC: The original design back in the 80’s for Rick had a very Jason Voorhees-like appearance, including the machete and hockey mask. Over time it evolved into the shirtless hulk and skull-like mask we have now. Were there any famous slashers or horror films you felt inspired by during the making of the new game? Any elements you tried to incorporate as homage?

DT: We actually thought about the monsters when we were working on the redesign of Rick. We knew that we had to move away from the Jason type character design and had thought that the bad guys in some of the monster movies always got to have all the fun. So we looked at some movies and comics and said why can’t Rick be the monster?

Characters like Hellboy and the Hulk are also powerhouses that get to wreck some serious carnage, and we looked to them to add some severe brutality to the character.

DC: The soundtrack to the game is stellar. How did you choose all the bands for the game, and how much did their music influence the game design, if at all?

Associate Producer Dan Tovar Talks New Splatterhouse

DT: The game’s soundtrack was chosen out of my personal record collection for the most part. These are all bands that I have enjoyed over the years and had listened to while working on the concept, especially Mastodon and High on Fire. The music just evokes a very particular mood and atmosphere that inspires adrenaline. For a violent game such as Splatterhouse, it really goes hand in hand. The trick became how to keep the atmosphere in the mansion to be creepy still with that heavy sound blasting through your skull so we do have several types of music throughout the game. We have atmospheric moody music for the exploration sections, and then we even have tunes that are inspired by the classic games and horror movie soundtracks from the 80’s. Those tongue-in-cheek flicks have always been at the heart of what drives us to make a game like this.

DC: My traditional last question: What’s your favorite horror movie?

DT: It’s always tough to pick just one. Re-Animator is up there. Dead Alive is beyond classic. The whole Evil Dead series is always in my skull. But I guess if I had to put one on the top, it would be American Werewolf in London. That one really scared the hell out of me when I was younger, and it still holds up even today. The transformation scene was just so over the top.

Look for the game in stores on November 23rd, 2010 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360! For more information visit Namco Bandai Games Online

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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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