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UPDATE: SXSW Announces Midnighters and SXFantastic Programming

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The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival announced today what all of us horror fans have been waiting to hear about: a list of all the genre-related features in the Midnighters and SXFantastic sections of the festival. And if you were impressed by the initial feature film lineup that was announced, you haven’t seen anything yet!

Joining the already announced horror flicks like The Innkeeper, Detention and Little Red Riding Hood, fans at the festival will also have the opportunity to check out some of the more buzzed about projects lately including Hobo With a Shotgun and enjoy the US Premiere of James Wan’s Insidious.

The SXSW Film Conference runs from March 11th–19th, 2011 in Austin, Texas. For more information, check out SxSW.com. To see the entire slate of film’s announced today, read on from the official press release!

UPDATE: New images added below.

From the Press Release:
A key component of the SXSW Film lineup, the Festival offers two midnight feature programs, each including five titles. The long-standing Midnighters section has hosted the premieres and fostered the careers of such filmmakers as Ti West, Eli Roth, and Scott Glosserman, and is programmed by SXSW Senior Programmer & Conference Manager Jarod Neece. In 2009, SXSW added the SXFantastic sidebar, a series of midnight films programmed by Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in the U.S. Last year, the section was home to the world premieres of Gareth Edward’s Monsters and the much buzzed about A Serbian Film.

”Our midnight programs are the bloody, beating heart of SXSW,” said SXSW Film Conference & Festival Producer Janet Pierson. “Since the beginning, midnight films have been an essential ingredient to what makes SXSW so exciting and fun, and this year’s selections are no exception.”

MIDNIGHTERS
Scary, funny, sexy, controversial – provocative after-dark features for night owls and the terminally curious.

Films screening in Midnighters are:

Attack the Block (UK-England) (World Premiere)
Director & Writer: Joe Cornish
Cast: Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Leeon Jones, Simon Howard, Luke Treadaway, Jumayn Hunter and Nick Frost
A funny, frightening action adventure movie that pits a teen gang against an invasion of alien monsters. It turns a tower block into a sci-fi playground. It’s inner city versus outer space.

The Divide (US-Canada) (World Premiere)
Director: Xavier Gens, Writers: Karl Mueller & Eron Sheean
Cast: Michael Biehn, Milo Ventimiglia, Lauren German, Rosanna Arquette, Courtney B. Vance
To survive the end of the world…you must first survive each other.

SXSW Announces Midnighters and SXFantastic Programming

Hobo With a Shotgun
Director: Jason Eisner, Writer: John Davies
Cast: Rutger Hauer, Gregory Smith, Molly Dunsworth, Brian Downey, Nick Bateman
A Hobo finds himself in an urban hell. When he witnesses a brutal robbery, he realizes the only way to deliver justice is with a shotgun.

Insidious (U.S. Premiere)
Director: James Wan, Writer: Leigh Whannell
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, Barbara Hershey
Dark spirits have possessed the home of a family whose son has fallen into a coma. Trying to save him, the family moves only to realize that it was not their house that was haunted.

SXSW Announces Midnighters and SXFantastic Programming

Phase 7/Fase 7 (Argentina) (North American Premiere)
Director & Writer: Nicolas Goldbart
Cast: Daniel Hendler, Federico Luppi, Jazmin Stuart, Jose “Yayo” Guridi
Coco just moved to his new apartment with 7-month pregnant wife. When the building is in quarantined for a deadly flue. The neighbors became unexpected enemies.

SXSW Announces Midnighters and SXFantastic Programming

SXFANTASTIC
Mind-bending Midnighters, hand-selected by our friends at Fantastic Fest.

Cold Sweat / Sudor Frio (International Premiere)
Director: Adrián Garcia Bogliano, Writers: Adrián Garcia Bogliano, Ramiro García Bogliano, Hernán Moyano
Cast: Facundo Espinosa, Marina Glezer, Camila Velasco, Omar Musa, Noelia Vergini
What do you do if you are a right-wing Argentinean terrorist and your state-sanctioned organization is disbanded? We can’t say, but it involves chat rooms, bare breasts and a generous slathering of nitroglycerine.

George the Hedgehog / Jeż Jerzy (Poland) (International Premiere)
Director: Wojciech Wawszczyk, Writer: Rafał Skarżycki
Cast: Borys Szyc, Maria Peszek, Maciej Maleńczuk, Sokół, Michał Koterski
Jez Jerzy is a skateboarding hedgehog who likes to drink beer and fondle breasts. He finds it hard to pursue his passions, however, while being tormented by neo-nazi skinheads, mad scientists and a drooling, flatulent clone of himself.

Kill List (UK) (World Premiere)
Director: Ben Wheatley, Writers: Ben Wheatley & Amy Jump
Cast: Neil Maskell, Michael Smiley, MyAnna Buring
A dark and twisted horror from the mind of director Ben Wheatley.

SXSW Announces Midnighters and SXFantastic Programming

Little Deaths (UK) (North American Premiere)
Directors & Writers: Sean Hogan, Andrew Parkinson & Simon Rumley
Cast: Kate Braithewaite, Daniel Brocklebank, Brendan Gregory, Siubhan Harrison, Jodie Jameson
A psychosexual horror anthology comprised of three separate stories dealing with the twin themes of sex and death.

SXSW Announces Midnighters and SXFantastic Programming

The FP
Directors & Writers: Jason Trost & Brandon Trost (World Premiere)
Cast: Jason Trost, Lee Valamassy, Caitlyn Folley, Art Hsu, Nick Principe
For years an underground war has raged for dominance over the town of Frazier Park between two clans. Dominance isn’t determined through fistfights or petty brawls, but the dancing video game Beat-Beat Revelation.

Look for full coverage soon!

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Night of the Living Dead 4K and The Silence of the Lambs Come to the Criterion Collection

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It’s been a long time coming for these two classics, especially Night of the Living Dead after the ridiculously bad transfer put out by Mill Creek Entertainment, whose transfer was supposedly remastered from a new 2K scan. I swear I thought it was some kind of a joke when I first put it on to watch. In any event…

IndieWire is reporting that horror classics Night of the Living Dead and The Silence of the Lambs will be added to the 2018 Criterion Collection, a hallmark label for home video cinephiles.

According to the site, Criterion will release a new 4K digital restoration of The Silence of the Lambs, which has been approved by the movie’s cinematographer Tak Fujimoto. Included on the DVD and Blu-ray sets are 35 minutes of deleted scenes and audio commentary from 1994 featuring the late Jonathan Demme (director), stars Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, screenwriter Ted Tally, and former FBI agent John Douglas.

Night of the Living Dead will also be released in 4K with never-before-seen 16mm dailies included as a bonus feature(!).

These will be added in February of 2018 so make sure you save up some cash after the holidays!

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DIS Review – Not for the Faint of Heart!

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Starring Bill Oberst, Jr., Lori Jo Hendrix, Peter Gonzales Falcon

Directed by Adrian Corona


I’ve made this claim many a time on this website before, and in the company of film friends as well: Bill Oberst Jr. is one of those actors that can literally be thrust into ANY role, and deliver a performance with so much harnessed electricity that you couldn’t believe that it was possible. I was the lucky recipient chosen to get a look at his latest project, titled DIS, and I think that I can honestly say – this is the stuff that nightmares are constructed of.

Directed by Adrian Corona, this 60-minute dive into the black depths of hell, and in actuality DIS is located between circles # 6 and 9 in Dante’s Divine Comedy, and trust me when I tell you – there’s not a shred of comedic relief in this demented presentation. Oberst Jr plays an ex-soldier named Ariel, and his seemingly harmless jaunt through the woods will become anything but that, and judging from the film’s opening scenes, you are meant to feel as uncomfortable about this watch as any you might have checked out in recent memory.

Perversion is the norm here, and lord help you if you’re caught where you shouldn’t be…my skin’s crawling just thinking about what I saw. Ariel’s travels are basically dialogue-free, but it only adds to the infinite levels of creepiness – you can tell he’s being stalked, and the distance between he and the horrors that await are closing in rather quickly.

Visually by itself, this hour-long chiller can sell tickets without any assistance – hollowed-out buildings and long sweeping shots of a silent forest give the movie that look of complete desolation. Sliced up into three acts, the film wastes no time in setting up the story of a killer needing fresh blood to appease his Mandrake garden – seriously guys, I can’t type as much flashy stuff as there needs to be in order to describe this innately disturbing production.

If you’re one of those types who tends to shy away from the graphic side of things, then I’d HIGHLY advise you to keep your TV tuned to the Hallmark Channel for some holiday entertainment, because this one registers high on the “I can’t believe someone thought of this” meter. So the quick recap is this: Oberst Jr in a standout performance, visual excellence, and an unshakable sense of debasement on a cellular level – keep the kiddies out of the living room with this one. Corona should be lauded (or locked up – just kidding) for his work on this one – HIGHLY recommended, and one that I’ll throw down as a top 5 for me in 2017.

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Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End Review: A Heavy Metal Massacre In Cartoon Form

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Starring Alex House, Bill Turnbull, Maggie Castle, Melanie Leishman, Chris Leavins, Jason Mewes

Directed by Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace


“Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil” – Canadian television’s greatest blend of Evil Dead, Superbad and Deathgasm? Yes. That answer is yes. For two face-melting seasons, Todd “protected” Crowley High from episodic villains who were bested by metal riffs, stoner logic and hormonal companionship. Musical interruptions showcased stage theatrics like Sondheim meets pubescent Steel Panther and high school tropes manifested into vile, teen-hungry beasts. It was like a coming-of-age story got stuck between Fangoria pages – all the awkwardness with 100x more guts.

That – for worse – was until Todd fell to a premature cancellation after Season 2’s clone-club cliffhanger. Indiegogo became the show’s only way to deliver a feature-length finale, except to reduce costs and ensure completion, the project would have to be in cartoon form. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End suggests an animated curtain call for this otherwise live-action production, and from a fan’s perspective, familiar maturation follies befall our favorite bloodsoaked friend group. But for new viewers? Start with the far-superior original show – you’ll be lost, underwhelmed and baffled otherwise.

Alex House retains his characterization of Todd Smith (in voice only). At this point, Todd has thwarted the book’s apocalyptic plan, Hannah (Melanie Leishman) has died, longtime crush Jenny (Maggie Castle) isn’t as horny for Todd anymore, and best friend Curtis (Bill Turnbull) has sworn Todd’s name to Hell (since Hannah was his girlfriend). Guidance Counselor Atticus Murphy Jr. (Chris Leavins) is now Janitor Atticus Murphy Jr. because Janitor Jimmy (Jason Mewes) is now Counselor Jimmy, yet Crowley High finds itself plagued by the same satanic uprisings despite these new changes. Why is evil still thriving! How is Hannah back in class! Who is the new “Pure Evil One” now that Todd has denied the book! Welcome to the end, friends – or is it a new beginning?

At just north of 80 minutes, structure runs a bit jagged. We’re used to Todd battling one baddie over a half-hour block – backstory given time to breathe – but in The End Of The End, two mini-boss cretins play second fifth-fiddle to the film’s big-bad monster (well, monsters – but you’ll see). A double-dose of high school killers followed by a larger, more important battle with the gang’s fate hanging in the balance. Not a problem, it’s just that more length is spent singing songs about Todd’s non-functioning schlong and salvaging relationships from the S2 finale. Exposition (what little there is) chews into necessary aggression time – fans left ravenous for more versatile carnage, underwhelmed by the umpteenth cartoon erection gag. Did I mention there’s a lot of boner material, yet?

These two mini “chapters” – “No Vest For The Wicked” (yarn demon)/”Zits Alors” (acid acne) – never come close to rivaling Hannah Williams’ doppelganger bombshell (“Songs About Boners”/”This Is The End Of The End Of the End”). Hannah [X]. Williams waking up in a room full of other Hannahs, emerging from some sleep-pod chamber; Todd’s gang facing off against this new “chosen one” in a way that erases “Sack Boy” and “Pizza Face” from memory. The End Of The End dashes dildoes-swinging into the show’s biggest mystery while dropping call-backs and bodies with equal speed – maybe too hastily for some.

Now, about the whole pivot to animation – a smooth rendering of Crowley High and all its mayhem, but never representative of Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil‘s very Ash Vs. Evil Dead vibe. All the practical death effects (gigantic man-eating cakes, zombie rockstars) are lost to one-dimensional drawings, notable chemistry between cast members replaced by edited recordings lacking signature wits. This isn’t Metalocalypse, where dismemberment and bloodshed are gruesome on levels that outshine even live-action horror flicks. There’s no denying some of the magic is missing without Chris Leavins’ “creepy uncle” overacting (a Will Forte breed) or the book’s living incarnations of evil. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End plays hooded minion to Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil’s dark ruler – less powerful, a bit duncier, but still part of the coolest cult around. Just try not to think about how much radness is missing inside hand-traced Crowley High?

It’s hard not to strike comparisons between “reality” and ‘toon, because as noted above, live actors are sorely missed in a plethora of situations. Be they musical numbers, heretic slayings, Todd and Curtis’ constant references to wanking, wangs or other pelvic nods (no, for real, like every other sentence) – human reactions no longer temper such aggressive, self-gratifying cocksmanship. It doesn’t help that songs never reach the memorable level of “Horny Like The Devil,” but the likes of House, Leishman, Turnbull and Castle were masters of selling schlock, shock and Satan’s asshole of situations. Instead, lines now land flat like – for example – Leavins’ lessened ability to turn pervy, stalkerish quips into hilarious underage stranger-dangers. Again, it’s not Metalocalypse – and without that kind of designer depth, a wall prevents inter-dimensional immersion into Todd’s extracurricular madness.

If this review sounds over-negative, fret not – it’s merely wishes of what could have been. None of this is to say Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End should be skipped. When you’re already known for masterstrokes of ballbusting immaturity, metal-horned malevolence and vicious teen-angst creature vanquishing, expectations are going to be sky high. Directors Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace successfully service fans with a smile, ensuring that rivers of red scribbled blood spurt from decapitated school children just like we’re used to. It’s just, I mean – ugh, sorry, I just have to say it one more time. BY DIMEBAG’S BEARD, this would have been an epic live-action flick. As is? Still one fine-with-a-capital-F-YEAH return to Crowley High for the faithful who’ve been waiting some 5-or-so years in a Todd-less purgatory.

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