American Horror Story Creeps onto FX October 5th - Dread Central
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American Horror Story Creeps onto FX October 5th



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FX has been creating quite a buzz with its slew of promotional spots for the chilling upcoming series “American Horror Story.” You know the ones I’m talking about, with the pregnant woman in the path of a creepy looking thing in a latex suit, the presumably dead looking baby doll (or baby?) and the mysterious arms playing cello on people’s bellies. Intrigued word of mouth has definitely been circulating, and in just a few short weeks we’ll get a chance to engorge ourselves with what looks to be a veritable feast for the eyes.

“American Horror Story” follows a great tradition of normal, unsuspecting families being thrust into a full-fledged war with the supernatural. The show’s creators, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, best known for bringing smash-hit “Glee” to FOX and (in a darker and more disturbed vein) “Nip/Tuck” to FX, drew inspiration from standout films like Rosemary’s Baby and Don’t Look Now, but there is an entire sub-genre of haunting we can examine as we prepare for the release of “American Horror Story.”

Unfortunately for the characters in the tale, most haunting stories don’t turn out like Beetlejuice with Winona Ryder levitating in the living room singing “Jump in the Line” and everyone living happily ever after. More often that not it ends up with an empty swimming pool spewing rotting corpses and the house imploding (or something of that nature).

And that image of course leads us to a landmark haunted house film that managed to crowbar itself into the American psyche and ferment there. Unleashed by the super team of director Tobe Hooper and producer Steven Spielberg, Poltergeist has stood the test of time and become an iconic haunted house film. Carol Anne’s trademark line “They’re here” has become as infamous as the film itself.

Following the format of the perfectly normal family moving into a dream home (you know, you never seem to see a dysfunctional family living in a shithole being terrorized by specters), Poltergeist was a perfect example of how a spirit begins as a playful entity, only to quickly become malevolent, even deadly.

And speaking of iconic, one cannot begin the discussion without mentioning what may be the most incredible haunting in the history of film. Yes, technically The Exorcist is in the possession sub-genre of horror, but we cannot discount the similarities between that classic movie and other haunted house films.

Things seem harmless enough, even after Regan takes a squirt all over the living room rug while her mother hosts a dinner party. And even as she sits there, one hand raised in the air, talking about Captain Howdy and the Ouija Board she was playing with, things don’t seem too far out of hand. But, just as in Poltergeist, The Amityville Horror and so many others, things go south very, very quickly.

And haunted house stories have continued to thrive in recent years, taking new and exciting angles on the classic idea. Recently The Haunting in Connecticut put a very interesting twist on the normal haunted house tale. Sure, it had the usual creaks, jumps, scary apparitions and the like; but it initially introduced some doubt as to the actual haunting. In this case the family wasn’t moving into a dream home; instead it was moving into a house closer to the facility conducting an experimental cancer treatment on the family’s son. And this treatment may or may not have been causing the boy to have hallucinations. The twist of the drugs possibly causing the visions, thus the haunting, was an interesting addition to the film.

And we simply cannot forget to mention one of the highest grossing haunted house series of all time, Paranormal Activity. Although the original film just involves a couple, Micah and Katie, the second, and perhaps more creative of the two, brings an entire family into the equation. And although the story is similar to Poltergeist, Paranormal Activity and the sequel go away from special effects and instead score great films with a mastery of suspense building. Not since the night scenes in The Blair Witch Project has tension been built so effectively. The filmmakers manipulate the audience like a puppet master with perfectly placed incidents of irreverent spiritual behavior.

American Horror Story Creeps onto FX October 5thFinally, with possession and hauntings once again going hand-in-hand to make an amazing film, Jack, Wendy and Danny Torrance thrilled us at The Overlook when The Shining suggested that hauntings aren’t limited to houses. An incredibly creepy setting that became a character itself, the spirit of The Overlook Hotel and the surrounding grounds seeped into Jack Torrance and festered in his mind, creating one of the most memorable horror characters of all time. Here’s Johnny, indeed.

“American Horror Story” will step forward on FX on October 5th, 2011, for an initial 13-episode run and looks to add its own mark on the haunted house lexicon. Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton star as Ben and Vivien Harmon, a couple moving from Boston to Los Angeles, hoping to rebuild a marriage ravaged by infidelity and a miscarriage. Taissa Farmiga plays the couple’s daughter.

With the memorable remakes of Cape Fear (’91) and King Kong (’76) to her credit, Jessica Lange will play Constance, the couple’s mysterious neighbor and the mother of Becca (Christian Serratos, best known as Angela Weber from the Twilight saga), a girl who understands the mysteries of the Harmon home even while suffering from down syndrome.

The cast is rounded out by “Six Feet Under” vet Frances Conroy and two from “True Blood”, Alexandra Breckenridge (who played Katerina Pelham) and Denis O’Hare (the almighty former king Russell Edgington himself).

With a great cast like this and tons of haunted house and possession tales to draw inspiration from, “American Horror Story” will certainly hit the ground running this October 5th, and we may never get a full night’s sleep again.

For more visit the official “American Horror Story” website and the official “American Horror Story” Facebook page.

American Horror Story Creeps onto FX October 5th

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Superheroes You Never Realized Battled Xenomorphs



Though horror movie fans haven’t gotten an outstanding franchise crossover battle since 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason, superhero movies have been at the forefront of bringing disparate characters together for some serious carnage. Upcoming films like The New Mutants and Spawn are courting horror fans by promising suspense and violence (refusing to shy away from previously taboo R ratings), but many don’t realize comics have been delivering terrifying crossovers featuring some of our favorite villains for years.

With the pending sale of 20th Century Fox to Disney, the future of the Alien franchise has been called into question. Though we may never learn the fates of characters introduced in 2017’s Alien: Covenant, horror and sci-fi fans might want to explore the vast universe unfurled in numerous comics and graphic novels. Not only do they delve into the lives of characters only briefly seen in films, you can find some unexpected crossovers that make Alien vs. Predator seem uninspired.

Superman and Batman are just the two most famous superheroes who have gone toe-to-toe with Xenomorphs in comics. Keep reading for a detailed summary of Alien franchise crossovers in comics.

Superman vs. Aliens

The Man of Steel first crossed paths with Alien’s titular extraterrestrials in a 3-episode series from Dark Horse Comics. Written and illustrated by Dan Jurgens, Superman vs. Aliens ran from July through September 1995. The story found Superman lamenting his isolation when a signal from deep space renewed hopes that there may be other survivors of Krypton’s apocalypse.

His hopes are dashed, however, when he arrives at the decimated city of Argo, where a Xenomorph infestation has wiped out the once-thriving community. Deprived of the powers he receives from Earth’s yellow Sun, Superman must face the Alien Queen while seeking a cure for the Xenomorph embryo growing inside him!

The Kryptonian would battle these fearsome foes again in Superman vs. Aliens II: God War in 2002; the 4-episode series from Dark Horse was written by Chuck Dixon and illustrated Jon Bogdanove. This time, Superman comes to the rescue when a renegade ship full of Xenomorphs crashes into the homeworld of The New Gods. In this series, Superman’s commitment to protecting all life is challenged, as he contemplates finding a suitable planet for the Alien Queen.

Batman vs. Aliens

Dark Horse released Batman/Aliens as a 2-part series in 1997; it was written by Ron Marz and illustrated and inked by Bernie Wrightson. The Caped Crusader uncovers a Xenomorph threat while investigating Mayan ruins, leading to a confrontation unlike anything Batman’s ever faced before. The clash continued in 2002’s Batman/Aliens II, a 3-part series written by Ian Edginton and illustrated by Staz Johnson.

This time, the Xenomorph plague hits Gotham, when a sealed vault reveals unsettling artifacts from a doomed mission to the South Pole. Mayhem reigns when face-huggers invade Arkham Asylum, where Batman must contend with a shadowy black-ops agency in addition to the relentless decimation caused by the Aliens.

Green Lantern vs. Aliens

Green Lantern versus Aliens (2000) is actually a continuation of a series that saw several iconic superheroes battling Predator’s intergalactic bounty hunters—but that’s a story for another article! This 4-issues series (also from Dark Horse and written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Rick Leonardi) kicks off with a never-before-told chapter in the story of Hal Jordan, widely considered the greatest of those to have carried the Green Lantern mantle.

Jordan’s decision to contain rather than destroy the Xenomorph threat will haunt his predecessor, Kyle Rayner, who joins a group of former Green Lantern Corps members to rescue residents of a planet overrun by Aliens. Ultimately, he must face the Alien Queen while struggling with the ethical consequences of annihilating an entire species, no matter how insidious it is—the same conundrum that tortured Jordan.

Judge Dredd vs. Aliens

In 2003, the Xenomorph plague hit Mega-One City hard in the 4-issue series Judge Dredd versus Aliens: Incubus, a collaboration between Dark Horse and Rebellion Developments; it was written by John Wagner and Andy Diggle and illustrated and inked by Henry Flint.

When the Alien threat emerges, Dredd first suspects there’s a connection to an underground fighting circuit, but this case will force him to seek the very origins of the nefarious species. In addition to protecting the residents of Mega-One, Dredd must also contend with an embryo growing inside him.

Others vs. Aliens

Other unexpected Alien crossovers that took place in comics worth mentioning include Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In Space No One Can Hear You Slay! Courtesy of (you guessed it) Dark Horse and released in 2012, an ill-advised “spacecation” finds Sunnydale’s savior facing off against the galaxy’s greatest scourge. The species’ acid-blood makes Buffy’s usual method of dispatch uniquely problematic!

Back in 1998, the WildC.A.T.s crossed paths with horror fans’ favorite E.T.’s after an outer space escape pod crash lands in New York City. With StormWatch out of commission, the remaining team must rally all their resources to defeat an unprecedented threat in WildC.A.T.s/Aliens, a one-off first published by Image Comics, and later picked up by Dark Horse.

Perhaps the most bizarre matchup occurred in 2012 when Vampirella battled Xenomorphs in a whopping 6-episode series published simultaneously in digital format by Comixology, Dynamite Digital, iVerse and (of course) Dark Horse Digital. Aliens/Vampirella takes place on Mars and also includes an ancient race of Martian warriors.

As creative minds and artists continue to collaborate, we can expect many more unexpected crossovers in the years to come. Whether any of these comic book match-ups featuring Xenomorphs ever come to fruition in the form of feature films, however, remains to be seen (though it seems unlikely).

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Jesper Kyd Returning to Score Vermintide 2



From the cover of Kyd's first Vermintide OST

Get your headphones ready, Warhammer fans because State of Decay and Darksiders 2 composer Jesper Kyd is back to score the upcoming Warhammer title Vermintide 2! The game will be coming to PC and consoles early this year.

Kyd was inspired by Norse mythology, utilizing ancient tribal music as well as dark fantastical elements to build upon the acoustic soundscapes he composed for the first Vermintide game. Channeling his own Scandinavian roots, Kyd will blend Viking and Norse-inspired vocals with ritualistic percussion styles to create a unique soundtrack experience.

Three tracks from the score can be heard below.

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Like Me – Will You Like This Dystopian Thriller?



Starring Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson, Larry Fessenden

Directed by Robert Mockler

While Like Me is not dystopian in the classic science-fiction sense, it does aptly put the downer vibe across. If the present is abysmal, then the future is downright hopeless. We learn this as we follow an unhinged teenage loner called Kiya (Addison Timlin) on a hollow crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. At first the world “likes” her—with the exception of YouTube rival Burt (Ian Nelson), who disdainfully denounces her viral videos—but pride goes before the fall, and Kiya’s descent is spectacular.

If you’ve peeped the trailer for Like Me, then you’re probably expecting a horror movie. I mean, they’ve got the requisite menacing masked baddie and they’ve got genre icon Larry Fessenden in a major role—those are a couple of the key ingredients, right? Yes they are, but this simmering, shimmering stew of Natural Born Killers, Excision and King Kelly, it boils down to a whole lotta nothing. Like Me is sort of a drama, kind of a road trip flick, and almost a thriller. It succeeds at none yet does stand on its own as a compelling collection of cool visuals and pertinent performances. But is that enough?

While Kiya is a compelling character on the surface, there’s barebones beneath. Sure, she’s a Millennial mind-fed on random online clips and snappy soundbites—but what turned her into a psychopath? Was she born that way? Is social media to blame? We’ll never know, because not a hint is given. I don’t mind ambiguity, but even a morsel would have been welcome in this case. As Kiya ramps up her reckless exhibitionistic extremes, the stakes are never raised. In the end, who cares? Maybe that’s the point.

A word of warning: If you plan on watching this movie while chomping snacks…don’t. There is stomach-turning scene after vomit-inducing scene of orgiastic easting, binging, and the inevitable purging. I’m sure it’s all metaphorical mastication, a cutting comment on disposable consumption. I get it. But I don’t wanna look at it, again and again and again. Having said that, Like Me is an experimental film and in its presentation of such grotesquery, it’s quite accomplished. Montages, split-screens and jittered motions are scattered throughout, showing us all sorts of unpleasant things…Kudos to the editor.

I didn’t hate Like Me. But I do think one has to be in the mood for a movie such as this. It’s not an easy or entertaining watch, but it is a peculiar and thought-provoking one. There’s some style and mastery behind the camera, and I am curious to see what first-time writer-director Rob Mockler comes up with next.

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