For certain horror franchises one movie can easily turn into twelve, giving us characters that just won’t stay dead. As horror fans we often revel in this and no matter how much we bitch, we still want the blood flowing, hatchets flung and machetes decapitating. While we have what feels like thirty-seven Saw movies, there are a ton of cult classic movies that never get a sequel or get churned for a profit straight to home video sequels that have nothing to do with the original other than the title.
Budgetary problems, not mainstream enough, actors dying, there are a myriad of reasons why these sequels while planned out or conceived never get made and leave us fans famished for more. Especially in this day and age where it seems that Hollywood throws our horror maestros new ideas away like garbage while picking away at their established films for every penny they can, our beloved franchises and filmmakers turn to the pages of comic books to get their tales told. It’s a great renaissance for horror literature in comics as even John Carpenter has turned to almost exclusively working in the comics medium with Tales of Science Fiction, Tales for a Halloween Night and even Old Man Jack being a few of his newest works to satiate your love for Carpenter. I decided to pick three of my favorites from the past couple of years that you guys should check out at your local comic shop so you can finally have the sequels your horror loving heart deserves.
The Lost Boys is a cult classic vampire flick that you could only get in the Eighties and it’s probably the greatest thing Joel Schumacher has ever done. It was a great balance of teen gothic and comedy that created an atmosphere that you just can’t get anymore. Decades later they tried to make sequels to this classic, straight-to-DVD and devoid of almost anything that resembled the original, so much so that whenever it did hearken back to the original film it just made fun of it. It felt like watching a Twilight movie made for the CW that just happened to have Edgar Frog in it.
Tim Seeley is probably the greatest eighties horror movie director you’ve never heard of because all his films splatter the comic book pages instead of the screen. His most famous book, Hack/Slash, is about a “Final Girl” who survives her slasher experience to become Cassie Hack the Slasher Slayer. She’s Buffy, minus super powers, but fights all kinds of different iterations of slashers. Seeley has had Cassie cross over with Victor Crowley, Chucky, Herbert West and Ashley J. Williams himself. The greatest thing about these crossovers is Seeley’s passionate love and attention to detail on the characters he’s adapting in these books. He takes every precaution to make sure the events of all the films can cross into his Hack/Slash universe and the voices of the characters are so refined it’s uncanny how similar they are to their film counterparts.
Seeley decided to take on The Lost Boys for a direct sequel and it’s the greatest sequel we never got, taking place very shortly after the events of the original film with Michael working an old folks home, Sam working the comic shop and the Frog Brothers training under Grandpa Emerson to be true vampire hunters. A hidden secret from one of our characters in the previous film causes a spike in vampire activity that is older than the human race! Seeley takes every little throwaway line of dialogue and throwaway character to sculpt a story that fits perfectly within The Lost Boys universe. While Seeley gives the drama a bit more urgency than the original film he also still makes it fun with awesome cheesy one liners and the dynamic between the Frog brothers has never been stronger. My favorite aspect of the story though is you find out a big secret about the Saxophone player that makes him one of the most ridiculously crazed yet badass characters in the series, who the hell ever thought that would happen? Seeley did. Sam really comes into his own in this book too as Seeley evolves all the characters a bit like a good sequel should. It’s a perfect marriage of reverence and world building that keeps the heart of the movie but forwards the plot in a fresh new way.
Freddy Vs. Jason is a fairytale scenario for a horror fan that went through decades of development hell but upon it’s miracle of a release made New Line Cinema huge bank, which begged the question of where’s the sequel? Jeff Katz who started in the New Line Cinema mail room had a dream and that dream was to bring the titans of terror face to face with one of horrors few ongoing protagonists, Ashley J. Williams. This obviously genius idea had so many people fighting over negotiations and takes on the material who knows who to point the finger at as to why it didn’t get made. Katz however being the huge fanboy he is persisted and turned his script into a comic book! This was an awesome little crossover complete with Freddy playing upon Ash’s nightmares about the cabin and even had a giant slaughter fest of S-Mart customers at the hands of Jason Voorhees.
I could go on about how awesome this book is what I really want to alert the fans to is what came shortly after the success of this book. This adaptation brought us the mother of all sequels Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash. Following the events in Katz first script turned comic, the government tracks down where Ash drowned Jason and the Necronomicon, which now houses Freddy’s soul, at the bottom of Crystal Lake. Of course a bunch of government agents end up getting slaughtered by Jason as the head of the Pentagon makes off with the Necronomicon. The scope of this book could never be filmed, not only does it have our three titular characters but every single survivor of every Nightmare or Friday film.
Maggie, Freddy’s daughter from Freddy’s Dead, along with Neil from Dream Warriors assemble a group of survivors who have encountered Freddy and Jason before to figure out a way to get rid of them for good. We’ve got Tina and her psychic powers, Renne and her empath powers, Alice the dream master herself along with Jacob the Dream Child, little Stephanie from Jason Goes To Hell all grown up with her father Stephen and Tommy Jarvis who hunts down Jason Punisher style complete with War Journal. As if this collection of familiar faces wasn’t enough the entire book is littered with references to other franchises and even features Alice Cooper’s “He’s Back” song from Friday the 13th Part 6!
Jeff Katz lets all his love for all these series shine ending with an ultimate showdown of evil on the lawn of the White house as Freddy summons the Army of Darkness, led by Jason, to combat the military and survivors, blood literally raining down on Earth. It gets even more intense as Amanda Kreuger’s ghost shows up with an army of the undead of her own! This book is the Kitchen sink thrown right at your face and as a fan it is everything you’ve ever wanted.
Romero is and always will be king of the zombies and while the last two decades saw him bring us three more “Of the Dead” films to mixed fan and critical reviews, each on gave a little something more to the genre and let’s be honest, most of you thought Land of the Dead was a badass flick. He wanted to keep bringing us theses stories but because of said mixed reviews it became harder and harder for Romero to make these films so he returned to the Dead universe under the Marvel Comics moniker for Empire of the Dead. The comic reads like the perfect accumulation of the entire Of the Dead universe playing heavily on themes that couldn’t be fully realized in both Day of the Dead and Land, tying directly into Night of the Living Dead while giving us several whole new layers to his universe.
Empire of the Dead has double meaning as it is New York City five years after the zombie outbreak. Humans live on the streets alongside the zombies in fear as special police forces patrol keeping both zombie and human in check, rounding the zombies up for coliseum entertainment to keep the poor amused. The rich live in luxury and excess feeding off the poor much like in Land of the Dead only this time the rich are literally sucking the poor dry as the rich that run NYC are secretly vampires. Romero gives us Mayor Chandrake, a vampire who lords over the city acting very much like Dracula but with a more nefarious and greedy demeanor. The humans are blinded by the violence of the arena as well as the false protection of the mayor’s police force, all of whom are vampires that kidnap children off the streets to be put in farms to be drained of their blood for vampiric consumption.
Romero’s themes are heavy in this book and he expands upon the idea of Bub from Day of the Dead very well here with a hero zombie named X. X is a swat member turned zombie that is found by Dr. Penny Jones who wishes to examine her and condition her to co-exist with humans as she displays signs of intelligence and Romero uses her to show how zombies communicate! In the very first issue Romero ties his later franchise films directly into Night of the Living Dead by revealing Penny is the sister of Johnny and Barbara and in a goosebump filled recollection of that fateful Night, it is finally revealed what became of both Barbara and Johnny. This reveal is what drives Dr. Jones to passionately continue her research on X.
The whole book accumulates in a coup of crazed rednecks trying to take over the city and kill Mayor Chandrake. X being so smart, becomes a zombie gladiator in the coliseum and helps lead a zombie gladiatorial uprising with the help of Dr. Jones against the vampires stealing children. In Romero’s eyes all empires crumble under corrupt rule and society will always destroy itself in any form when money is put before survival. It’s a powerful message and one of the coolest ideas to come out of Romero’s zombie universe in a long time. There was talk of a television adaptation, but unfortunately certain networks felt there’s too much zombie competition out there for anyone to care which is complete garbage and people need to wake up and make Romero’s vision a reality.
Exclusive: Talking Movie Theater Subscription Plans With Sinemia Founder Rifat Oguz
Have you heard of a monthly theatrical subscription service called MoviePass? More than likely by this point you have.
But what about Sinemia?
Via their official site, Sinemia is “a private movie club that provides discounted movie ticket subscription plans. Through a combination of easy to use technology and pre-paid debit cards, Sinemia has created an innovative solution for the movie-going experience.”
After announcing its U.S. launch, the high-end movie ticket subscription service was welcomed to the country with a lawsuit from competitor MoviePass.
Recently we had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Sinemia’s founder Rifat Oguz, and we talked about the services, the lawsuit, and our favorite movies in general.
Give the interview a look-see below and then let us know what you think!
Dread Central: First off, can you tell us a bit about how Sinemia works and what you offer?
Rifat Oguz: Sinemia offers different plans according to your movie watching frequency. The most popular one is 2 times in a month for $8.99. It’s free 2D or 3D tickets in any theater, for any movie, and includes features like reserved seating, the IMAX-4DX-XD-ScreenX-DBox experience, private screenings and more for one low monthly fee; support for advance ticket purchases and support for third-party ticket processors like Fandango.
DC: Where did the idea for Sinemia begin?
RO: I’ve always been passionate about movies. When I realized there were so many empty seats in movie theaters throughout the world, I decided to change that by developing an idea for a “movie ticket subscription” system.
DC: Sinemia is already leading the market in the United Kingdom, Canada, Turkey, and Australia. Can you talk a bit more about this?
RO: We don’t have any competitors, globally. Our only competitor is in the US. We are trying to create a global system for all the moviegoers on the planet.
DC: Why the move to the U.S.?
RO: Because the heart of the movie market is in the U.S.
DC: How does Sinemia differ from other services such as MoviePass?
RO: Firstly, we don’t track our subscribers or sell their personal data because we don’t need to earn money from data. We have a sustainable financial model. Our subscribers are our clients, not our product. As previously stated, Sinemia offers different plans according to your movie watching frequency.
DC: Speaking of MoviePass, the “rival” company recently filed a lawsuit Sinemia for “using its patented electronic payment technology without authorization.” Care to comment?
RO: MoviePass tries to block us because our sustainable and less restrictive model promises much more to customers and the overall movie market. The reason for their effort is to block serious, true competition.
DC: Where do you see Sinemia in 5 years?
RO: We believe that we’ll be giving service in all 5 continents to millions of movie lovers.
DC: I always end with this question: What’s your favorite scary movie?
RO: The Shining is a classic. But if you’re asking for a more recent movie, I think The Conjuring is my favorite.
Thanks for chatting with us today, Rifat!
For more info on Sinemia, visit the official site RIGHT HERE.
Brennan Went to Film School: These Aren’t Your Daddy’s Strangers
“Brennan Went to Film School” is a column that proves that horror has just as much to say about the world as your average Oscar nominee. Probably more, if we’re being honest.
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
If you’re a die hard horror fan, you were probably pleasantly surprised when you sat down to watch The Strangers: Prey at Night, the decade-later sequel to Bryan Bertino’s potent little 2008 shocker, and discovered that it was a full-barreled homage to John Carpenter and synth-drizzled 80’s cinema. But once you scratch past the surface, it makes perfect sense why digs up the horror tropes of yesteryear.
You see, the movie is inherently about the war between two generations that has been playing out in the media over the past couple years. You’re probably familiar with the cavalcade of articles about millennials killing everything from the napkin industry to the lottery to Applebee’s. It always happens this way: older generations are frightened by the shifting tastes and perspectives of new generations, and the way a world shaped by them is going to look. It happened with the introduction of video games, rock ‘n roll, and even novels way back in the day.
Now the Internet age has made things especially frightening and unrecognizable. Kids and teens now have access to the broadest spectrum of information in human history, and their attempts to carve out their own identities alongside this rapid increase in social and political awareness have received a lot of pushback from the parents and authority figures in their lives.
The Strangers: Prey at Night is essentially about transposing that generational battle onto a grand, bloody canvas. On the micro scale, there’s the literal reason our family foursome is facing the evil trio of murders: their young daughter Kinsey has “behavioral issues” that frighten her parents, who just don’t understand, so they are sending her off to a boarding school. The trailer park where they’re staying on the way to drop her off becomes the site of their own gruesome demise. “Out of sight, out of mind” is the idea, but what they end up with is “out of time,” as the Strangers rip and slash their way through their faux domestic tranquility.
Which brings us to the macro side of things: The Strangers, along with being a literal dredging up of the past (these particular villains haven’t been onscreen for ten years – time sure flies, doesn’t it?), bring a whole horde of classic horror tropes and stylistic elements with them, from Adrian Johnston’s glorious synthwave score to the neon-splashed coloring to the Texas Chainsaw infused finale. In fact, the lead Baghead villain finds it impossible to kill without an 80’s track blaring on his truck’s stereo. He’s basically Baby Driver’s evil twin. All these elements of older horror films are the exact things being used to torture and terrify the teens in this trailer park.
In two entirely different contexts, the older generation is seeking to hold these kids back and prevent them from being independent, especially Kinsey, who finds herself a particular target for their torment.
But just as past generations always eventually surrender and give way to the new, the siblings in Prey at Night triumph over their attackers. The senseless, random violence that claimed the lives of the victims in the original Strangers is no match for this duo of smarter, more capable protagonists. They are able to unmask, unsettle, and eventually destroy the Strangers without the help of any adult.
It’s no coincidence that Kinsey uses the very symbol of her teen rebellion (a cigarette lighter she uses as a performative way to show just how punk she is) to escape certain death, by igniting a puddle of gasoline under the lead Stranger. The knife-wielding antagonists eventually go the way of Applebee’s thanks to two kids who strove to be more than their now-dead parents and succeeded, though certainly not in a manner any of them could have ever predicted.
Also, if you think about it, The Strangers: Prey at Night is in and of itself a child. It was born from the original film, but it feels completely different from its predecessor. It sees the plot and tone of that film and strikes off in its own new direction. Thus, the generational war plays out on the biggest scale possible for this universe: the very existence of the movie itself.
This constant battle between old and new has an inevitable conclusion, and the people who made The Strangers know it. This is a film for a new generation about a new generation, and the infinitely more connected kids we’re seeing these days are capable of a previously unimaginable strength and solidarity. That’s reflected in the less downbeat ending here, which shows that the new generation has a chance in battling the senseless violence and grim patterns of their parents.
With more understanding and self-actualization, they’re going to create a brand new world that would be unrecognizable to previous generations, though hopefully one that hasn’t forgotten just how awesome Carpenterian synthwave music is.
Brennan Klein is a writer and podcaster who talks horror movies every chance he gets. And when you’re talking to him about something else, he’s probably thinking about horror movies. On his blog, Popcorn Culture, he is running through reviews of every slasher film of the 1980’s, and on his podcast, Scream 101, he and a non-horror nerd co-host tackle horror reviews with a new sub-genre every month!
The Conjuring 2’s Elvis Scene Should Be Seen By Every Aspiring Filmmaker
What makes a horror movie actually scary? Is it the villains who threaten the lives of the protagonists? Is it the knowledge that anyone could meet his/her demise at any second? Is it the gore and viscera that sprays across the screen? Or is it something else, something deeper?
For me, horror only affects me deeply when I can empathize with what I’m seeing. As an example, it’s the reason that Dr. Gordon’s racking sobs towards the end of Saw caused tears to spring in my own eyes. The fact that we know that his family is safe only amplifies the anguish of the climax. I was begging for him to find some way of finding out what had happened so that he could find some semblance of peace. When he finally grabs the saw, my horror is met in equal measure with a terrifying understanding. This man thinks his family is being killed, so how can I fault him for doing what he’s doing? I can’t blame him or mock his decision, like I can in so many other horror situations. His love for his family, the guilt that encompasses him, it all spills over in a flood of fear, terror, and desperation. To this day, I still find the 3rd act of Saw emotionally difficult to sit through.
So what does this have to do with The Conjuring 2? Well, everything! What director James Wan has done with both films is he’s created a world where we spend time with the characters in ways that build up who they are rather than the situation they’re in. By taking the time to make me care about the characters, I care about what actually happens to them. And no scene in The Conjuring 2 enforces that point more than when Ed spots a guitar and plays Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
Here’s the scene I’m talking about:
I’m the kind of person who gets really uncomfortable with “cringe” videos and stories. If a comedy bases its humor on making fun of people rather than situations, I usually will hate it with every fiber of my being. I will pull my hood over my head and cover my eyes while putting my hands on my ears. I’ll do whatever I can to avoid the awkward uncomfortableness of the scene because it makes me feel like my entire body is crawling.
When Ed asks for the guitar, I originally thought, “Oh no, please don’t do this.” I was ready to curl up in the middle of the theater and suffer for the next few minutes. But what happened during that scene was quite possibly the most important part of the entire movie. After seeing the Hodgsons suffer without help and recognizing that each of them was basically at a breaking point, this interlude was a momentary, yet precious reprieve from seemingly unending fear. As an audience member, seeing those children smile and sing along with Ed Warren was, and still is, perhaps the best example of “heartwarming” I can think of.
But what’s more is what else is happening while Ed plays. It’s the sidelong glance he gives Lorraine that is full of love, a look reciprocated by her as we, the audience, see the love that these two have for each other only grow stronger. Because the film takes those few seconds to establish such a strong relationship, the later events are all the more dramatic. When Ed goes into the basement and the door locks behind him, the separation between him and Lorraine is heart-wrenching. Watching her pound on the door while crying his name between tears feels real because the story made it so.
It’s also seeing Peggy Hodgson as she sits behind her children, a huge smile on her face while she watches them sing along with Ed, brushing tears of happiness from her eyes occasionally. For all the struggles and horrors that they’ve endured, her love for her children has never waned and her want for them to have a wonderful, safe life is clearly apparent.
By building such strong relationships between the characters and, in turn, between the characters and the audience, any danger that they encounter feels all the more dramatic and threatening. Were I to not care about these characters, as I don’t in pretty much any Friday the 13th film or Amityville sequel*, then I would never be scared by the film. It’s because of my attachment to those on the screen that I feel terror.
To every aspiring filmmaker, I offer you my one piece of advice that I feel is the most important lesson of all: If you can make me care about your characters, you’ll make me care about your film.
*Not trying to bash these films. Just saying that they are definitely lacking when it comes to character development.
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