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Event Report: Dread Central visits Las Vegas for Fright Dome 2017

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Dread Central hopped a flight to Las Vegas, Nevada, this past Friday, September 29th, in order to cover the highly-anticipated opening of the haunt attraction Fright Dome (at Adventuredome at Circus Circus), now in its fifteenth year of scaring the hell out of Sin City.

Arriving to the carpet, we were beset on by the jaw-dropping menagerie of scare actors historically hired by Fright Dome creator and owner Jason Egan, who in true Tod Browning fashion once again has employed individuals with actual physical anomalies, which were accentuated by entirely professional makeups. In addition to the duo of Johnny Eck-like young women with truncated torsos (made up as a carnival performer and a zombie, who traversed the carpet using their hands as locomotion), a motley assortment of sinister clowns, black-shrouded witches and chainsaw-wielding madmen also stalked the press line.

In attendance for the carpet, which unfortunately this year was light in genre talent (with the exception of indie darling actress Sarah Nicklin of Ama Lea’s From Hell She Rises and the upcoming feature The Basement – video below) was UFC’s Dana White, who arrived to the event with Egan himself, the latter who dished on the amount of work it takes in order to deliver Fright Dome each year (video also below).

As for the mazes, new for 2017 is the 15,000 square foot maze entitled Zombie City, the macabre Happy Hell-idays attraction (which put a gruesome spin on holiday traditions, replete with killer Easter bunnies and one hell of an animatronic Krampus), and the brand new maze HEX, with fan favorites Chainsaw Massacre and Killer Clowns in 4D making their encores.

For this writer though, the standout attraction of the evening was Lights Out, an isolation-style maze available to Fast Pass or VIP Tour purchasing customers only (purchasing them is highly recommended), taking over the space of last year’s Ouija maze. After a thirty minute or so strobe-lit wait, we were granted access individually, and found ourselves navigating the pitch black within, with only a less than reliable flashlight to guide our way. Having attended dozens of haunts over the course of my life, and having lived on a steady diet of horror films since my youth, I’m notoriously difficult to scare, and Lights Out did so on both occasions I went through.

With Lights Out, Egan and his team have constructed a maze which seeps into your being. You will feel utterly alone. You will be entirely impressed by the set design, and by the creatures which lay within, who seem to dance ghostlike in and out of reality (when the pre-programmed flashlight, which interacts with the environment and set pieces around you, allows you to see them). And by the time you are requested to sit in an old wheel chair, and are spun one hundred and eighty degrees into the final heart-pounding scene, you’ll be attempting to catch your breath. The entire experience sent chills up my spine, and the finale? I won’t spoil it, but I will say, you’ll never forget it.

Lights Out raises the bar for haunts everywhere.

As for the rest of the attraction, Egan’s stepped it up this year, with the main floor positively shrouded in fog (as the attraction is within an enclosed structure, precise control of it is possible), and Fright Dome’s use of laser lighting in conjunction creates for an entirely eerie spectacle. The scare actors which populate the space are beautifully committed to their roles, as evidenced by the consistent shrieks of guests which continually erupted, heard over even the din of the dome’s two heart-stopping rollercoasters which screamed overhead.

As we’ve been there for the last four years running, and have been positively blown away by the sheer levels of production, fright and fun, we can attest to the fact that Fright Dome has grown past its roots of simply being a Las Vegas attraction, and has transformed into a destination for fright fans worldwide.

Don’t miss it.

Writer’s note: My thanks to Mandi McCary of MMGNV for arranging our visit.

Fright Dome is open select nights from 7 p.m. to Midnight, Sept. 29 – Oct. 31, with general admission tickets only $37.95, with additional fast pass upgrades starting at $20.00. For all things Fright Dome, you can click here, and be sure to “like” them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter  and Instagram.

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KISS Meets Army of Darkness in New Comic Miniseries!

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Dynamite Entertainment just announced that they are planning to bring two of their bestselling brands together in “KISS/Army of Darkness #1”. The new comic book series will unite the rock band with none other than Ash for some Deadite ass kicking.

The series will be written by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims and illustrated by Ruairi Coleman. And the debut issue of “KISS/Army of Darkness” features three art covers from Kyle Strahm, Goni Montes, and Ken Haeser.

You can find all three covers below along with quotes from the creative team. After looking through all of that make sure to hit us up and let us know how excited you are about this new hybrid comic series in the comments below or on social media!

With Ash vs. The Army of Darkness, Chris and I were given kind of carte blanche to do whatever we wanted to the world of AOD, and we went for broke,” Co-writer Chad Bowers says. “We introduced some new characters and concepts, and built a legacy for Ash’s comics adventures that I’m immensely proud of, but not in a million years could I have guessed we’d get to continue that momentum with the added bonus of tossing the world’s greatest rock n’ roll band into the mix! I’ve been in the tank for KISS since I was in middle school. I remember buying the KISS tribute album, KISS My Ass for the Lemonheads (they covered Plaster Caster), which lead to me picking up Greatest Hits, and so on. But when I found out there was a KISS comic with blood in it, I signed up for life! Of course, I adore the songs (literally listening to Do You Love Me right now), but I’m just as obsessed with the way KISS transcends the music to become something of a genre themselves. It’s something I think about a lot, honestly, so no surprise, it’s a big part of our story too!”

“When it comes to Army of Darkness, I guess you could say that Ash is a bit of a gambler, but he’s nobody’s fool,” Co-writer Chris Sims says. “And since our first story was set back at Alan Shepard High, we’re looking forward to showing him some things that you can’t learn in school. Okay, okay, I’ll stop with the deep-cut lyrics now, but for real — if you thought Deadites at Homecoming and the Supernatural Military-Adjacent Response Team were taking Ash in a new direction, just wait until you see how we team him up with the Starchild, Space Ace, the Demon, and the Catman. In the grand tradition of the film, we’re tearing up the entire space-time continuum and if you think you know how weird this is gonna get… well, you sure know somethin’!”

“Having done some work for Dynamite in the past, I’ve really been wanting to get my foot in the door here for a long time so I can play in the sandbox of the amazing licenses they have,” Artist Ruairi Coleman says. “Chief among those, and high up on my bucket list, is Army of Darkness: Hail to the king, baby! So, when I was offered the job of drawing the KISS/Army of Darkness crossover, I couldn’t believe my luck! The concept is totally bonkers, but in a way, that would make complete sense in the world of Army of Darkness. Thinking about it, I’m surprised it hasn’t been done already and I’m honored (and more than a little intimidated) to be the guy who draws it.”

“After a more than 40-year career, KISS continues to be one of rock’s most celebrated bands, while Army of Darkness continues to be a staple in the comic book industry. We’re both honored to have the opportunity to work so closely with Gene and Paul to bring their world-renowned alter-egos to comics alongside our very own Ashy Slashy,” says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. “The raging guitar chords and pyrotechnic spectacle of their stage shows could have come straight from the pages of the Necronomicon, and this epic battle between The Demon and Deadites will appeal to the hellions in all of us!”

Issue #1 will be available on digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, Madefire, and Dark Horse Digital.

The KISS/Army of Darkness miniseries event hits February 2018.

Synopsis:

KISS is on top of the world and rocking faces until the night disciples of The Destroyer show up and the band disappears. With the tour canceled, a young Ash misses one of the most important events of his life that will change his destiny. Now the Chosen One has to get back on the right path and join the KISS ARMY OF DARKNESS!

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Jason Lives Director Pitched Follow-Up: Jason Vs Cheech and Chong

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One of my favorite entries in the Friday the 13th series is director ‘s Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. The mixture of old-school gothic horror and comedy is always a welcome treat around these parts.

But why wasn’t McLoughlin asked to write and direct the follow-up?

Actually, it turns out he was asked to follow up Jason Lives, McLoughlin recently told Mick Garris on the Post Mortem podcast.

But his pitch – Jason vs Cheech and Chong – didn’t go over so well…

“[Frank Mancuso Jr.] wanted me to do another film after we did Jason,” McLoughlin says. “And I said, ‘What are you thinking? I don’t know what it could be now.’ And he said, ‘Well, what do you think about Freddy (Krueger) and Jason?’ And I go, ‘But Freddy’s at New Line and the guys at Paramount have [Jason].’ And it’s like, ‘Well, we’re going to try and see if we can work something out.’ So, I started thinking about that, going, It doesn’t make sense. I mean he lives in one realm and — you know, I take this stuff very seriously, what realm a monster’s supposed to stay in. And he came back, he goes, ‘Eh, forget it, it’s not going to work anyway.’ And I said, ‘You know what? You guys own Cheech and Chong. What if we do Cheech and Chong-meets-Jason? They’re like camp counselors or something. It’s like, ‘Hey, man, I saw Jason out there.’ ‘No, man, that’s a myth.’ But he said, ‘You know what? No.’”

Too bad. While I don’t know how well a Cheech and Chong/Friday the 13th flick would go, with McLoughlin at the helm, the film would have at least been funny as hell.

Plus we already got these two knuckleheads in Part III.

Are you upset we never got Tom McLoughlin’s Jason vs Cheech and Chong? Make sure to let us know in the comments below or on social media!

You can buy Friday the 13th: Part VI – Jason Lives on Blu-ray HERE.

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Blade Runner 2049’s Lackluster Box-Office Still a Mystery to Director Denis Villeneuve

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This past summer we were hit by director Denis Villeneuve’s stunning sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. While a hit with the critics and the audience that saw it, the film didn’t pull in quite the money the studio hoped for. Especially considering its budget.

With a budget of $150 million Blade Runner 2049 only managed to gather $89 million at the domestic box-office and $163 million worldwide.

Why didn’t the film make more cash? Well, director Denis Villeneuve has a few theories that he recently shared with Cinema Blend.

“I’m still digesting it,” he told the site. “I think because maybe people were not familiar enough with the universe. And the fact that the movie’s long [2 hours, 44 minutes run time]. I don’t know. It’s still a mystery to me. I make movies — I don’t sell them.”

Why do you think Blade Runner 2049 didn’t pull in more cash at the domestic box-office? Let us know in the comments below!

Blade Runner 2049 is directed by Denis Villeneuve from a script by Hampton Fancher (who wrote the original) and Michael Green. The script is based off a story by Hampton Fancher, which is in turn based on the original film’s source material “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Phillip K. Dick.

The film stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Edward James Olmos, David Dastmalchian, Lennie James, Barkhad Abdi, Sylvia Hoeks, Hiam Abbass, Carla Juri, David Benson, Ellie Wright, and Kingston Taylor.

Synopsis:

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

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