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San Diego Comic-Con 2011: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Panel Highlights



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The Thursday night screenings and parties are officially over and you know what that means … back to work for us! One of Friday’s highlights was no doubt the Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance panel and Maria Lewis has the highlights for you!

First and foremost star Nicolas Cage did promise fans the second Ghost Rider film – directed by Crank duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor – is a departure from the lighter tone of the first and closer to the comic book series. Read on for much more.

When I did the first one I wanted it to be like a Grimms’ fairy tale; scary but still something you can enjoy,” said Cage. “This one, with (directors) Mark (Neveldine) and Brian (Taylor), is really going into the wonderful bliss of the nightmare imagination. I think that there’s a lot of humor to be found in the sarcasm and darkness. You talk to any paramedic and they survive by developing a pretty off-kilter sense of humor. I think Blaze has that. He’s dealing with the fact his head goes on fire, for years now. When you have a lot of comic book movies being made everyday, most of them are good boys so it’s nice to have a few bad boys.”

Co-director Brian Taylor said he and Neveldine “didn’t really consider the first movie at all. We wanted the darker version the fans wanted. He’s not a superhero that wears tights, he’s a dark entity. We like the stuff Garth Ennis did, that was a lot of inspiration for us. It looks like he crawled out of an opening in hell and into your face. Immediately you’re going to know you’re in a different world. It’s got dark humor, it’s got scary stuff, it’s kind of what we’ve just always done.

Taylor said Cage really inhabited the darker version of his character on set and even “scared” other actors when he was in makeup,

“The first time he showed up as Ghost Rider on set, there was this silence and creeped-out feeling. He (Nic) wouldn’t talk, he was very quiet and he had these big black glass eyes in. At one point Mark said to him ‘did those things hurt?’ and Nic said ‘it’s personal’.

Neveldine said he wanted to bring “a lot of action” to the movie and they tried to use as little CGI as possible. “We come from a background where we didn’t have the money to do CGI. We approached this by using CGI to enhance the film.

Taylor added: “Someone in a computer lab in New Zealand didn’t come up with what the Ghost Rider is. It’s an amazing performance. We tried to put our actors in peril as much as possible. If it looks dangerous, then it probably is.”

That attitude made co-star Idris Elba – who plays Ghost Rider’s “pretty cool sidekick” – a little uncomfortable.

When I was 19 I fell off a motorcycle and never wanted to get on one again until this movie,” said Elba. “But Brian was like ‘you’re doing these stunts.’ I was a fan of their work and what I like about their films is you feel the momentum.”

Taylor said he and Neveldine were “nervous” because it’s their “biggest film” and that Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is an “audience film.” He went on to say he and Cage had discussed it and Ghost Rider would beat every other superhero in a fight; “even Superman.” Cage added: “Because he has the Penitent stare and can look at you, everyone’s done something wrong. He can make you look at it over and over and over again, like the internet.”

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance stars Nicolas Cage, Johnny Whitworth, Idris Elba, Violante Placido, and Ciaran Hinds. The movie finds Johnny Blaze, aka Ghost Rider (Cage), hiding out in remote Eastern Europe and struggling to repress his curse. Blaze is recruited by a sect to take on the devil (Hinds), who wants to take over his mortal son’s body on the boy’s birthday. Its scheduled release date is February 17, 2012.

It has been several years since making a deal with the Devil and Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage), living in self-imposed isolation, finds himself as the only person who can help save 10-year-old Danny – and ultimately the world – thanks to his unwanted and uncontrollable power – his ability to transform into the hell-on-wheels monster known as The Ghost Rider.

San Diego Comic-Con 2011: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Panel Highlights! (click for larger image)

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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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