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Surfing Dead Channels in SF

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Dead Channels report!Dead Channels film fest kicked off it’s first year last Thursday night, August 9’th at the legendary Castro Theater in San Francisco with screenings of the ultra-rare film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Happy Birthday, Wanda June and Takahi Miike’s Big Bang Love, Juvenile A. But the center of the evenings programming was undoubtedly the U.S. premiere of Uwe Boll’s highly anticipated gonzoid comedy Postal (Nomad’s review, McCannibal’s review).

The film stars Zach Ward (A Christmas Story, Transformers) as Postal Dude, an everyman driven to the edge by an infidelous wife and a dead end job. Co-stars Dave Foley (“Kids In The Hall”, “NewsRadio”) as Uncle Dave, a shyster posing as a new age guru who draws Postal Dude into a plot to pull a heist on a shipment of coveted “Krotchy” dolls. Then Verne Troyer (yes, Verne Troyer) and Osama Bin Laden get involved and things basically go fucking haywire. Brutally violent and deathly funny, Postal takes a blowtorch to anything and everything deemed “politically correct”. Religious, racial, sexual, or political … no group is spared, Boll snipers each one expertly. Each bullet fired in the film shoots some other real world social convention right in the fucking head.

After the film, the attending crowd also was treated to a Q and A with Mr. Uwe Boll himself, as well as cast members Zach Ward, Larry Thomas (hilarious as Osama Bin Laden) and Michaela Mann. To cap the night off, an after party was thrown at local club 12 Galaxies, where the audience was invited to hang out, have some drinks and meet the people behind Postal up close and personal. We were there repping Nightmare Alley and Dread Central and had a chance to speak with Uwe and Zach on camera, which you will be able to see in our upcoming episode. Not to be cryptic, but let’s just say I’ve never seen an interview done in this setting before…

Dead Channels continued the following day with showings of World Sinks Except Japan by director Minoru Kawasaki (The Calamari Wrestler, Executive Koala) in which, well, the world sinks … except Japan, as well as short-films package Short And Scary and 50’s atomic horror send-up Trail Of The Screaming Forehead (by Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra director Larry Blamirey)

Now for my favorite film of the festival so far, End Of The Line (review). Written, produced, directed, and edited by one man fear factory Maurice Devereaux, End Of The Line plays like a zombie survival-horror flick, but instead of the shambling undead we get worshippers from the Church of Hope, religious zealots hell bent on saving mankind … by viciously stabbing them to “heaven” on the eve of what they claim to be the Apocalypse.

End of the Line!End Of The Line could very well signal the arrival of another smart and inventive director in the vein of John Carpenter or Neil Marshall with the chops to make some serious impact on the horror genre; I highly recommend seeing this film.

Night two closed out with the inaugural Dead Channels midnight movie as well, and it was a good one! Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, an old school TV horror film from the early 70’s about a young bride being terrorized by demonic creatures in her recently inherited ancestral home. This was one flick I grew up on, and while quaint by today’s standards, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark still features some very effective atmosphere and has a creepiness all it’s own.

For a running day-to-day report on the festival, which runs through August 16’th, go check out Jason Watches Movies, an insanely informative and massively cool blog written by uber film nut (and all around great guy) Jason Wiener. Keep an eye out for Jason and Dead Channels coverage on an upcoming episode of Nightmare Alley as well!

Meanwhile, bay area readers get out there and see some of these films! There are still four nights left of Dead Channel’s insanely cool programming!

Sean “The Butcher” Smithson

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George A. Romero’s Daughter, Tina, Wrote a Script For Queens of the Dead

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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

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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

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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.

Synopsis:
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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