Dread Central Tours Halloween Horror Nights' Insidious Maze - Photos and Film Details Abound! - Dread Central
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Dread Central Tours Halloween Horror Nights’ Insidious Maze – Photos and Film Details Abound!

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This past August 21 Dread Central joined John Murdy, the creative director behind Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights, which kicks off September 15th at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, for a behind-the-scenes tour of the then-under-construction maze Insidious (based on the Blumhouse franchise, as well as the upcoming latest installment in such, Insidious: The Last Key). Read on for word and exclusive photos.

Directed by series newcomer Adam Robitel and opening in theaters nationwide on Friday, January 5, 2018, Insidious: The Last Key stars series regular Lin Shaye as Dr. Rainier, who faces her most fearsome and personal haunting yet: in her own family home, and during our tour, Murdy offered us some juicy narrative tidbits of what we can expect in the film, as well as within the maze from which it spawned.

Arriving to the lower lot and to the maze’s façade just adjacent to the Jurassic Park ride, Murdy told us, “This is the third Insidious maze we’ve done during my time at Halloween Horror Nights, starting in 2013 with Insidious: Into the Further, which was really focused on the first two movies, and then in 2015 when the third movie came out, we did another maze called Insidious: Return to the Further. Insidious has always been a fan-favorite for us.”

“In working with Blumhouse,” he stated of the maze’s conceptualization, “I’m on the ground floor with them in regards to maze development, so they let me read the script well before shooting (of the film) had ever taken place, and what really jumped out at me was that this could be different from the other Insidious mazes we’ve made, particularly in the setting in which we start. In the previous mazes we did the Lambert house, which was the little boy’s house from the original film. The house we are standing in front of right now is the Rainer house (located in the film) in New Mexico, which is Elise’s parent’s house, the house which she grew up in.”

“And what’s different about this movie,” he continued, “is that (the characters) get a telephone call like they often do to investigate a paranormal happening, but Elise then realizes that the address (of the occurrence) is that of her childhood home. And through the course of the movie, we start to realize why she has such dread in returning to her home town, and particularly to the house that she grew up in, because this is where she first encountered the paranormal, and we are going to hint at that.”

In doing so, Murdy and co. will attempt to induct guests into the world of Insidious before they even enter the maze.

“First of all, (Insidious characters) Tucker and Specs, just like we’ve done in the past, will be live performers that will interact with you in the queue,” he revealed, “and (in the maze) you’ll see more than one new nemesis (from the Insidious universe) that we get to work with: there’s The Red Haired Ghost, and there’s also a demon character called The Key-Faced Demon, and then once you get into the Further there’s a bunch of other ghosts as well. So we realized that we could probably do a whole maze from the new film alone, but we also know that our fans love this franchise, and if they went through an Insidious maze and didn’t see the Red Demon, or the Black Bride, or any of the other characters from the other films, that they would be disappointed. So we decided to use the Further as a way to visit the other films, as well as to hit all of our favorite characters from all of the Insidious franchise.”

As for the new film’s narrative, and what Murdy has created from it, “The film takes place in New Mexico, and early on when Elise is a young girl, she sees a ghost in her house, and he’s wearing this weird duck mask, that looks like one of those vintage Halloween masks, before consumer (Halloween) products were available. So we use him as sort of a guide for the first part of the maze, and we’ll see him appear and disappear.”

Moving through the maze and into a period perfect living room, Murdy further revealed that, “Elise’s dad in this scene is a ghost. His name is Gerald, and he’s watching a news report about the Cold War. Because we are in the 1950’s, Elise’s dad has a bomb shelter in his house, and in this particular scene we (also) have Elise’s mother, who met an untimely end. There will be an animated character here (representing her) in the maze with cables wrapped around her throat, convulsing with its legs kicking. And not only does the dad have a fallout shelter, he has a secret cell attached to it, because we learn in the movie that he has some girl chained up (in it).”

“What’s ironic when you are working on a maze on a film that’s this far out in front of you,” concluded Murdy, “is that the shooting script is never representative of the finished film, due to editing or re-shoots. So we always have to make a decision, as to whether or not include things from the script in the maze or not. The movie doesn’t come out until January 2018, and the trailer probably doesn’t come out until October, and (as such) Jason Blum said to me, ‘This (maze) is probably the greatest trailer for the film.’ And it is, because our guests get to live parts of this movie before they’ll ever even see a trailer for it.”

For more information about “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios, visit HalloweenHorrorNights.com. Join the “Halloween Horror Nights” conversation using #UniversalHHN on Facebook at Halloween Horror Nights – Hollywood and Instagram; Halloween Horror Nights on Twitter and Periscope @HorrorNights. Add username “HorrorNights” on Snapchat for nightly live content, and watch the terror come to life on the Halloween Horror Nights YouTube Page.

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Dread Central Presents The Lodgers – Vegas Screening and Wider Release

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Last weekend fans got their first taste of the next Dread Central Presents film, The Lodgers (review); and we’re not done yet! There’s another Dread Central Presents screening TOMORROW, February 22nd, at 7:00 PM at the Eclipse Theaters in Las Vegas, Nevada (tickets here); and then the flick will be opening wider the very next day!

To see if the film will be playing near you, click here for a list of cities The Lodgers will be haunting!

Directed by Brian O’Malley and starring Charlotte Vega and Bill Milner, the film made its worldwide premiere at 2017’s Toronto International Film Festival and has since won many awards across multiple festivals.

Make sure to follow and “like” Dread Central Presents on Facebook to stay in the know regarding this and upcoming titles!

Synopsis:
In this Gothic horror tale, a family curse confines orphaned twins Rachel (Charlotte Vega) and Edward (Bill Milner) to their home as punishment for their ancestors’ sins. Bound to the rules of a haunting childhood lullaby, the twins must never let any outsiders inside the house, must be in their rooms by the chime of midnight, and must never be separated from one another. Breaking any of these three rules will incur the wrath of a sinister presence that inhabits the house after midnight.

While Edward is committed to this ill-fated life, he’s becoming more unhinged due to the fact that Rachel is not. Smitten by a local soldier (Eugene Simon), Rachel grows skeptical and begins to rebel, desperate to escape the oppression and misery of their captivity.

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Exclusive Clip: Primal Rage – Bigfoot Causes Chaos!

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Ever been driving in the woods and see or hear something that you cannot explain? Something so shocking that it makes your skin crawl off of your spine? Yeah, those moments, that usually chalked up to something completely innocuous, can be mucho unsettling. Such is the case with our bloody exclusive clip from the latest sliver of Sasquatchploitation, Primal Rage, which illustrates what can happen when you play with your food.

Directed by Patrick Magee, who co-wrote the film with Jay Lee, Primal Rage stars Andrew Joseph Montgomery, Casey Gagliardi, Eloy Casados, Justin Rain and Marshal Hilton. You can also catch this one of the big screen as on February 27th, Fathom (tickets here) will be hosting a one-night theater event for Primal Rage.

Enough talk! Get your Squatch on!

Synopsis:
Lost deep in the forest of the Pacific Northwest, Ashley and Max Carr are stalked by a terrifying creature that might be Bigfoot. Soon they find themselves embroiled in a strange land of Native American myth and legend turned real. Hopelessly trying to survive, with a handful of unsavory locals, they must fight back against this monster in a desperate battle of life or death.

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The Strangers: Prey at Night Set Visit Part 2: Screams and Flames

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[SPOILERS] As mentioned in our earlier set visit story, The Strangers: Prey at Night maintains the same feeling of isolation as the original. Even though a full-fledged production was going on in Gatlin Lake Getaway, it is hard to shake that feeling of being totally alone once wandering away from the set lighting. The dark surround woods start to close in and threaten to swallow any who stray too close to the tree line. Then the silence is broken as a beat-up 1972 Ford Ranger’s engine revs and a scream slices through the night.

Back on the lit street, the familiar looking truck has collided head-on with the side Wagner County Sheriff’s SUV. At the driver’s seat of the Ford is a man sporting a white cloth bag as a mask. The Bagman has returned. His appearance has not changed. The empty sockets of the mask still glare ominously and the painted smile poorly hides the stranger’s murderous intent.

An air of frustration surrounds the Bagman as he attempts to free the truck from the SUV. In vain, the Ford revs and struggles to no avail. Bad news for him, but good news for whomever the Bagman was pursuing. The law enforcement vehicle, with its lights flashing, had been driven by a young woman decked out in a black Ramones t-shirt and blood-splattered jeans. Her hair is jet black. The woman’s skin is streaked with dark blood and open slash wounds. The dark punk eye makeup is running, but the wearer is not.

It is obvious that this woman has been through a lot as she limps from the wreck. The context of her current state is not clear, but the shrieking that emanates from her as she produces a lighter and throws it to the ground under the collided vehicles speaks volumes. It can only be assumed that she has been chased, slashed, and emotionally beaten for hours. The scream is packed with emotions from fear to outright spite and rage. It is so powerful, in fact, that the crew members uttered stunned laudations.

As the gasoline ignites, the flames climb and spread of the mangled metal of the two collided vehicles. The Ford’s engine still violently revs as the Bagman emotionlessly tries to break free. The young woman is slowly backing away, unaware of the chain reaction occurring. The darkness of 1 AM is broken by two giant fireballs that erupt, engulfing the metal mayhem in the middle of the street. The surroundings fall silent, cut is called and the crew erupts in exclamations at the awesome spectacle.

This powerful moment was brought to us by Bailee Madison (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark).

The Strangers: Prey at Night was now on its twenty-second day of shooting and only eight more days remained. The cast and crew are well accustomed to their routines and the late night shoots have become second nature. When asked if the constant schedule of night shoots had been difficult, Madison elicited some of the virtues that the darkness has to offer, “There’s something very vulnerable about night shoots. You are emotionally in a different place when you’re awake and rested in the daytime. I think for something traumatic like this, you need to be able to access different emotions; at night you’re a lot more capable.”

At this point in production, Bailee’s character has seen a lot of action. A heavy amount of blood adorns the actor’s arms and a thick clotting mass of the red stuff covers most of her forehead. Keeping track of that damage for continuity from day to day looks like a grueling task, and makeup department head Jodi Byrne dropped some details about the process, “We have continuity photos and we take pictures of Bailee constantly throughout the day … We have to determine which takes are actually going to be used in the film and we move from that point.”

Synopsis:
A family’s road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family’s every limit as they struggle to survive..

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