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San Diego Comic-Con 2012: Top 13 Horror Options for When Hall H & Ballroom 20 Are Just Too Full

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San Diego Comic-Con 2012: Day 4 (July 15) Schedule Now Live; Heinlein Blood Drive InfoSure, horror fans hope to see “The Walking Dead”, Pacific Rim, the “Virtual Drive-In”, Resident Evil: Retribution, Silent Hill: Revelations, Elysium, & “Supernatural” in Hall H along with “Dexter”, “True Blood”, & “The Vampire Diaries” in Ballroom 20. But what if the lines are too long?

What we have here is your 2012 San Diego Comic-Con Horror Lover Survivor Guide for those times when no matter how early you thought you were for your favorite panel, it wasn’t nearly early enough. So shake off the disappointment and head for the next best thing – those smaller panels that elbow their way into the Convention Center to do battle with the big Hollywood productions that have nearly taken over the show. Or maybe take in some off-site activities and get a fresh point of view. Here are our Top 13 picks for when you need a Plan B. They include some untested new TV shows, a pair of saucy indie filmmakers, reflections on a true legend in the genre, the return of a CG animated feature based on a beloved video game, a Devil’s Carnival, a Vampire Slayer, and of course the heart and soul of the SDCC, actual comics!

1. The Walking Dead Escape— How’s this for a crazy idea? Ditch the Convention Center entirely for a while and head over to Petco Park for “The Walking Dead Escape” obstacle course. There are three ways to participate:

  • Survivor: Navigate through zombie-infected Evacuation Zone.
  • Walker: Embrace the inevitable and become one of the undead.
  • Spectator: Watch the apocalypse from the sidelines at the Escape Party.

    The world we know is about to end. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions will sweep the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. The only way to survive is to buy an Evac Pass, track the virus, and get out before it is too late. In a matter of months society will crumble, and San Diego will be first of many cities to fall. Only a few will escape. Some won’t even try.

    We’ve leaving off Preview Night (everyone knows that’s the primo shopping time anyway) and diving right into Thursday, July 12th, for the next couple of items on the list. We’ve tried to space things out enough to give you time to get from one to the next, but long lines are simply a fact of life at this show.

    2. 11:00-12:00 Twisted Twins: American Mary— Jen and Sylvia Soska (of Twisted Twins Productions and the makers of Dead Hooker in a Trunk) and Todd Masters (of MASTERSFX and make-up effects producer on True Blood) will discuss the use of prosthetics in horror. The Soskas will also address the challenges of working in a male-dominated genre. They will unveil a sizzle reel from their new film American Mary. Paula Lindberg (Ruby in American Mary) will also be on the panel, which is moderated by Beth Accomando (author of the KPBS blog Cinema Junkie). Room 5AB

    3. 2:00-3:00 Inside the Shadow Show: Ray Bradbury’s Lasting Impact on Literature, Comics, Film, and Beyond— Literary legend Margaret Atwood (The Handmaiden’s Tale) and acclaimed horror and fantasy writer Joe Hill (Heart-Shaped Box) are joined by Sam Weller (The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury) and internationally acclaimed horror writer Mort Castle (The Strangers), the co-editors of Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradburyl to reflect on the deep and lasting impact of Bradbury on their work, literature, comics, cinema, and beyond. Moderated by Chris Ryall, CEO and editor-in-chief of IDW Comics. Room 5AB

    4. 3:45-4:45 Image: The Walking Dead— The bestselling, award-winning comic The Walking Dead has been a critical and commercial success — and its TV adaptation on AMC holds its own weight as a record-setting juggernaut. Join creator/writer Robert Kirkman and series artist Charlie Adlard for a rare sit-down, where they will discuss the past, present, and future of the decade’s most talked about zombie phenomenon. A Q&A will follow the conversation between the visionary collaborators. Room 6A

    5. 7:00-8:00 History of the Modern Zombie— Zombie Research Society hosts a panel of leading zombie experts moderated by ZRS founder Matt Mogk (Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies). Panelists include Max Brooks (Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z), Scott Kenemore (Zen of Zombie, Zombie, Ohio), Aaron Sagers (CNN Geek Out, entertainment writer, TV host), Steven Schlozman, M.D. (zombie autopsies, Harvard Medical School), and Bradley Voytek, Ph.D. (University of California, San Francisco). Join them for a spirited discussion about the evolution and impact of the modern zombie, and get all your pressing questions answered before it’s too late! Room 7AB

    Friday the 13th is, of course, packed with horror goods, and one way to kick it off is with a double feature of “Cult” and “666 Park Avenue”, two promising new TV series that are running back-to-back in Room 6BCF.

    6. 11:30-12:30 Cult Pilot Screening and Q&A— There is television…and there is the world we live in. In the shadows where they meet, there is Cult. In this visceral thriller, a young reporter teams up with a television researcher to investigate a series of disturbing disappearances connected to a wildly popular new television show called…Cult. With everyone a suspect and no one to trust but each other, they follow an obscure trail of tantalizing clues deeper into the cult of Cult. Moving from the real world into the labyrinthine world of the series and its two characters-a detective and a charismatic cult leader-events inside the show begin to bleed into the outside world and vice versa as the certainty of what’s real and what’s illusion crumbles into dust. Be among the first to see a special pilot screening, followed by a Q&A with creator and executive producer Rockne S. O’Bannon (Farscape) and series stars Matt Davis (The Vampire Diaries), Jessica Lucas (Psych), Alona Tal (Supernatural), and Robert Knepper (Heroes). Cult will air midseason on The CW and is produced by Fake Empire and Rockne S. O’Bannon Television in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios. Room 6BCF

    12:45-1:45 666 Park Avenue Pilot Screening and Q&A— Spend Friday the 13th getting to know the residents of the historic-and otherworldly-Manhattan apartment building The Drake, during this special screening of 666 Park Avenue. Sexy, seductive, and inviting, The Drake maintains a dark hold over its residents, tempting them through their ambitions and desires, in this new drama that’s host to an epic struggle of good versus evil. Series stars Terry O’Quinn (Lost), Vanessa Williams (Desperate Housewives), Rachael Taylor (Charlie’s Angels), and Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters), along with executive producers Matthew Miller (Chuck) and David Wilcox (Fringe), will be on hand for a special Q&A following the screening. From Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Alloy Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television, 666 Park Avenue will air Sundays at 10/9c on ABC this fall. Room 6BCF

    7. 3:00-4:00 Drawing on Your Nightmares: Horror in Comics— Throughout comics’ storied history, horror has been an important part of the medium. In the fall of 2012, Dark Horse unveils a whole slate of new titles guaranteed to have you running for the covers. Dark Horse horror line editor Scott Allie is joined by actor-turned-comics writer Lance Henrikson and creators Eric Powell (The Goon), Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre), Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash), Paul Tobin (Colder), and others for an exciting look at this year’s most promising four-color thrills and chills! Room 23ABC

    8. 6:00-7:00 Girls Gone Genre— Listen to and talk with women who write, read, game, and perform in arenas that are statistically dominated by men. What happens when traditionally “male” genres are reinvented by female writers and embraced by female fans? Sex and the City (or for that matter, Girls), it ain’t. Meet the women who like to play with trucks and Barbies. And Wolverine action figures. And flux capacitors. Panelists: Marti Noxon (Buffy, Angel), Jane Espenson (Battlestar Galactica, Torchwood), Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body), Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood), Angela Robinson (True Blood) and Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead, The Terminator. Room 7AB

    9. 7:30-8:30 Resident Evil: Damnation Worldwide Trailer Premiere, 7-Minute Sneak Peek, and Filmmaker Q&A— The next action-packed installment in the Resident Evil franchise continues. Fans will have the opportunity to watch the worldwide 2D trailer premiere (in English) of Resident Evil: Damnation, the all-new, 3D sequel to the full-length CG animated feature Resident Evil: Degeneration, based on the Resident Evil (known in Japan as Biohazard) series of games. Fans will also get an exclusive look at the first 7 minutes of the Japanese theatrical version of the film, followed by a Q&A with Hiroyuki Kobayashi (Japanese producer of the Resident Evil franchise) and Makoto Kamiya (Resident Evil: Damnation director). Room 5AB

    10. 11:59 The Devil’s Carnival— Friday night it’s time to go off-site again for a special screening of director Darren Lynn Bousman and writer/performer Terrance Zdunich’s groundbreaking musical film fusion event The Devil’s Carnival. The show at Gaslamp Theatre (701 Fifth Avenue) will feature a live slideshow performance, a costume contest, never-before-seen footage of REPO! The Genetic Opera, and a Q&A with Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich. Attending cast will include Alexa Vega, Emilie Autumn, and Marc Senter. Tickets are now available by clicking here.

    Saturday, July 14th, provides the biggest challenges of the weekend with a ridiculous amount of horror TV shows battling for your attention. We suggest starting off with:

    11. 1:00-2:00 A Conversation with Bryan Fuller— Join acclaimed television writer/executive producer Bryan Fuller (Heroes), the creative force behind Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls, and Dead Like Me, for a Q&A with fans as he discusses two of his highly anticipated projects, Hannibal and Mockingbird Lane, both at NBC. In the midseason drama Hannibal, one of the most fascinating literary characters comes to life on television for the first time: psychiatrist-turned-serial-killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The recently shot pilot Mockingbird Lane is an imaginative reinvention of the 1960s comedy The Munsters. Room 7AB

    Saturday afternoon is so chock-full of competing options if the aforementioned dynamic duo of “The Vampire Diaries” and “True Blood” don’t float your boat, we’ll let three others vie for 12th place on our list:

    12. 3:00-4:00 Grimm Q&A/Season 2 Preview— Grimm, NBC’s police procedural with a supernatural mythology, returns to Comic-Con to kick off its second season packed with chills and revelations. Be among the first to get a glimpse of season 2 and participate in a Q&A session with the cast and producers: David Giuntoli (Turn the Beat Around), Russell Hornsby (Lincoln Heights), Bitsie Tulloch (The Artist), Silas Weir Mitchell (Prison Break), Reggie Lee (The Dark Knight Rises), Sasha Roiz (Caprica), Bree Turner (The Ugly Truth), and executive producers/writers Jim Kouf (Angel) and David Greenwalt (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), executive producer/director Norberto Barba (Law & Order: Criminal Intent), and executive producers Sean Hayes (Hot in Cleveland) and Todd Milliner (Hot In Cleveland). Produced by Universal Television and Hazy Mills, Grimm returns late summer on NBC and Grimm Season One will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 7. Room 6A

    3:00-4:00 Being Human— This panel is a beast. Stars Sam Witwer (Aidan), Meaghan Rath (Sally), and Sam Huntington (Josh) join executive producer Anna Fricke to discuss the forthcoming third season of Syfy’s hit series about a vampire, a ghost, and a werewolf-all just trying to be human. Moderated by Drusilla Moorhouse (Zap2It.com). Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront

    4:00-5:00 The Following Screening and Q&A— Don’t miss an exclusive pilot screening of The Following, the terrifying new thriller from creator/executive producer Kevin Williamson (Scream) and executive producer Marcos Siega (The Vampire Diaries). Series stars Kevin Bacon (Mystic River) and James Purefoy (Rome) will join the producers for a Q&A after the screening. This fast-paced drama follows Bacon’s character Ryan Hardy and the FBI as they are challenged with the ever-growing web of murder around them, masterminded by Purefoy’s devious Joe Carroll, who dreams of writing a dark novel with Hardy as his protagonist. From Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Outerbanks Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television, The Following premieres midseason on FOX. Room 6BCF

    Finally we come to Sunday, July 15th, home to what looks like it could one of the most exciting panels of the weekend depending on who the surprise guest(s) turn out to be:

    13. 2:15-3:15 Buffy Turns 20: Celebrating 20 Years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer— Once upon a time, Buffy Summers became the Slayer, the Chosen One who proved a young heroine could battle the forces of darkness instead of playing damsel in distress. Stars from the hit TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Nicholas Brendon, Clare Kramer) join forces with Dark Horse editor Scott Allie, writer/producer Jane Espenson, illustrator Georges Jentry, and the original Buffy herself (Kristy Swanson, star of the 1992 motion picture), not to mention a surprise guest or two, to celebrate 20 years of slayage. Room 6BCF

    And there you have it. Did we miss something you’re hoping to see next week? Chime in with your favorite panels below, and keep it here for more San Diego Comic-Con 2012 news as it comes.

    VISIT THE EVILSHOP @ AMAZON!
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    Tell us your Comic-Con plans in the comments section below.

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    Fearsome Facts

    Fearsome Facts – Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

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    Sir Christopher Lee returned to portray the charismatic count of Transylvania in Hammer’s Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) for the first time since taking on the iconic role in 1958’s Horror of Dracula – an eight year absence. 

    And while Lee endured a love/hate relationship playing the Carpathian Count over the years, the actor reluctantly tackled the role a total of 10 times for the Silver Screen. Three of those performances came outside of the purview of Hammer Horror, but this list is dedicated to the first Hammer Dracula sequel to feature the return of Christopher Lee in the lead role.

    Now, here are 5 Things You May Not Know About Dracula: Prince of Darkness.

    5. Dracula: Speechless

    Dialogue never played a crucial part in Christopher Lee’s portrayals as Count Dracula, but this film is the epitome of that contentious notion. Lee doesn’t utter a single word during Dracula: Prince of Darkness’ 90 minutes of run time. In interviews over the years, Lee said that he was so unhappy with his lines that he protested and refused to say them during the filming process. “Because I had read the script and refused to say any of the lines,” Lee said in an interview at the University College of Dublin.

    However, screenwriter Jimmy Sangster insisted that the original script was written without any dialogue for Dracula. There was even a theory that circulated for a time which postulated that Hammer could not afford Lee’s growing salary, so the studio decided to limit the Count’s screen time. Did this lead to the demise of Dracula’s dialogue? Regardless of whom you want to believe, Dracula is the strong, silent type in Prince of Darkness. 

    4. Double Duty for Drac

    Hammer Film Productions doubled down, so to speak, on the production and post-production aspects of Dracula: Prince of Darkness. First, the studio filmed the vampire flick back-to-back with another project titled Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966). In doing so, Hammer used many of the same sets, actors – including Francis Matthews and Suzan Farmer – and crew members to shoot both motion pictures.

    Second, Dracula: Prince of Darkness was featured in a double billing alongside the film The Plague of the Zombies (1966) when it screened in London. Insert cheesy cliche: “Double your pleasure, double your fun with Doublemint Gum.” 

    3. Stunt Double Nearly Drowned

    Dracula: Prince of Darkness introduced a new weakness in the wicked baddie, but it nearly cost a stuntman his life. During the film, it was revealed that running water could destroy Dracula. Wait, what? Apparently, leaving the faucets on at night not only prevents frozen pipes, but blood-sucking vampires, too.

    All kidding aside, it was during the climactic battle scene in which Christopher Lee’s stunt double almost succumb to the icy waters on set. Stuntman Eddie Powell stepped in as the Count during that pivotal moment, as Dracula slipped into the watery grave, but Powell was trapped under the water himself and almost died.

    2. Lee Loathed What Hammer Did to Stoker’s Character

    Christopher Lee’s return to Hammer’s Dracula franchise was a stroke of genius on the part of producers, but Lee was more than a little reticent when it came to initially voicing his dislike for playing the iconic role. As mentioned above, a lot of speculation swirled around the lack of dialogue given to Lee in the Prince of Darkness script. And if you don’t count the opening flashback sequence, which revisits the ending of Horror of Dracula (1958), Count Dracula doesn’t appear on screen until the 45-minute mark of the film.

    Dracula’s lack of character, and presence, began to affect Lee particularly when it came to signing on to play the character in the three films following Prince of Darkness. Indeed, the lack of meaningful character development led to Lee initially turning down Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) and Scars of Dracula (1970). Lee said in countless interviews that he never got to play the real version of Count Dracula created by Bram Stoker, at least via Hammer Studios. This was a true disappointment to the late actor.

    But Hammer guilt Lee into taking on the role over and over again, because the studio claimed to have already sold the aforementioned films to the United States with Lee’s name attached to the projects. Hammer informed Lee that if he didn’t return the company would have to lay off many of their workers. The tactic worked, since Lee was friends with many of the Dracula crew members. Fortunately for fans, Lee kept coming back for blood.

    1. Faux Pas

    Outside of the character of Dracula only appearing on screen for the last half of the movie, Dracula: Prince of Darkness had even more pressing issues that unfortunately survived all the way to the final cut of the film. One of the most appalling of these occurrences happens during the picture’s climatic confrontation. Watch the skies above Dracula and you will see the trail of a jet-engine plane staining the sky.

    Another faux pas occurs in this same sequence when Dracula succumbs to the icy waters. Watch closely as the camera’s long shot clearly reveals the pivots holding the ice up underneath Chris Lee. Finally, watch the dead girl who is being carried during the opening funeral sequence. She is clearly breathing and quite heavily at that.

    ***

    Which Dracula: Prince of Darkness moments did you find the most interesting? Were there any obscure facts you would have enjoyed seeing make our list? Sound off on social media!

     

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    Desolation Review – The Joy of Being Rescued and All the Surprises That Come With It

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    Starring Raymond J. Barry, Brock Kelly, Dominik Garcia-Lorido

    Directed by David Moscow


    It’s those random, once-in-a-lifetime encounters that only a select few get the chance to experience: when we as regular participants in this wonderful thing known as The Rat Race, stumble across a soul that we’ve only witnessed on the big screen. I’m talking about a celebrity encounter, and while some of the masses will chalk the experience up as nothing more than a passing moment, others hold it to a much larger interior scale…then you REALLY get to know the person, and that’s when things get interesting.

    Director David Moscow’s thriller, Desolation follows shy hotel employee Katie (Lorido) and her “fortuitous” brush with Hollywood pretty-boy Jay (Kelly) during one of his stops – the two hit it off, and together they begin a sort of whirlwind-romance that takes her away from her job and drops her in the heart of Los Angeles at the apartment building he resides in. You can clearly see that she has been a woman who’s suffered some emotional trauma in her past, and this golden boy just happens to gallop in on his steed and sweep her off of her feet, essentially rescuing her from a life of mundane activity. She gets the full-blown treatment: a revamped wardrobe, plenty of lovin’, and generally the life she’s wanted for some time.

    Things return to a bit of normalcy when Jay has to return to work, leaving Katie to spread out at his place, but something clearly isn’t kosher with this joint. With its odd inhabitants (a very creepy priest played by Raymond J. Barry), even more bizarre occurrences, and when one scared young woman cannot even rely on the protection from the local police, it all adds up to a series of red flags that would have even the strongest of psyches crying for their mothers. What Moscow does with this movie is give it just enough swerves so that it keeps your skull churning, but doesn’t overdo its potential to conclusively surprise you, and that’s what makes the film an entertaining watch.

    While Lorido more than holds her ground with her portrayal of a woman who has been hurt in the past, and is attempting to place her faith in a new relationship, it’s Barry that comes out on top here. His performance as Father Bill is the kind of stuff that wouldn’t exactly chill you to the bone, but he’s definitely not a man of the cloth that you’d want to be stuck behind closed doors with – generally unsettling. As I mentioned earlier, the plot twists are well-placed, and keep things fresh just when you think you’ve got your junior private investigator badge all shined up. Desolation is well-worth a look, and really has kicked off 2018 in a promising fashion – let’s see what the other 11 months will feed us beasts.

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    Got your eye on that shining movie star or starlet? Better make sure it’s what you really want in life – you know what they say about curiosity.

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    Carnivore: Werewolf of London Howls on VOD

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    Joining the ranks of The Curse of the Werewolf, An American Werewolf in London, The Company of Wolves, and Dog Soldiers, Carnivore: Werewolf of London is the latest in a long series of fantastic British werewolf movies. Directed by Knights of the Damned’s Simon Wells, the film focuses on a couple trying to save their relationship by taking a vacation in a remote cottage, but rekindling their old flame soon proves to be the least of their worries as they learn that something with lots of fur and lots of teeth is waiting for them in the surrounding woods.

    Carnivore: Werewolf of London stars Ben Loyd-Holmes, Atlanta Johnson, Gregory Cox, Molly Ruskin, and Ethan Ruskin, and is available to purchase now on Google Play, Amazon Video, iTunes, and Vudu, although it doesn’t appear to have received a physical release as of yet.

    More information about Carnivore: Werewolf of London is available on the film’s official Facebook account, along with a ton of production photos.

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