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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.

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    Night of the Living Dead 4K and The Silence of the Lambs Come to the Criterion Collection

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    It’s been a long time coming for these two classics, especially Night of the Living Dead after the ridiculously bad transfer put out by Mill Creek Entertainment, whose transfer was supposedly remastered from a new 2K scan. I swear I thought it was some kind of a joke when I first put it on to watch. In any event…

    IndieWire is reporting that horror classics Night of the Living Dead and The Silence of the Lambs will be added to the 2018 Criterion Collection, a hallmark label for home video cinephiles.

    According to the site, Criterion will release a new 4K digital restoration of The Silence of the Lambs, which has been approved by the movie’s cinematographer Tak Fujimoto. Included on the DVD and Blu-ray sets are 35 minutes of deleted scenes and audio commentary from 1994 featuring the late Jonathan Demme (director), stars Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, screenwriter Ted Tally, and former FBI agent John Douglas.

    Night of the Living Dead will also be released in 4K with never-before-seen 16mm dailies included as a bonus feature(!).

    These will be added in February of 2018 so make sure you save up some cash after the holidays!

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    DIS Review – Not for the Faint of Heart!

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    Starring Bill Oberst, Jr., Lori Jo Hendrix, Peter Gonzales Falcon

    Directed by Adrian Corona


    I’ve made this claim many a time on this website before, and in the company of film friends as well: Bill Oberst Jr. is one of those actors that can literally be thrust into ANY role, and deliver a performance with so much harnessed electricity that you couldn’t believe that it was possible. I was the lucky recipient chosen to get a look at his latest project, titled DIS, and I think that I can honestly say – this is the stuff that nightmares are constructed of.

    Directed by Adrian Corona, this 60-minute dive into the black depths of hell, and in actuality DIS is located between circles # 6 and 9 in Dante’s Divine Comedy, and trust me when I tell you – there’s not a shred of comedic relief in this demented presentation. Oberst Jr plays an ex-soldier named Ariel, and his seemingly harmless jaunt through the woods will become anything but that, and judging from the film’s opening scenes, you are meant to feel as uncomfortable about this watch as any you might have checked out in recent memory.

    Perversion is the norm here, and lord help you if you’re caught where you shouldn’t be…my skin’s crawling just thinking about what I saw. Ariel’s travels are basically dialogue-free, but it only adds to the infinite levels of creepiness – you can tell he’s being stalked, and the distance between he and the horrors that await are closing in rather quickly.

    Visually by itself, this hour-long chiller can sell tickets without any assistance – hollowed-out buildings and long sweeping shots of a silent forest give the movie that look of complete desolation. Sliced up into three acts, the film wastes no time in setting up the story of a killer needing fresh blood to appease his Mandrake garden – seriously guys, I can’t type as much flashy stuff as there needs to be in order to describe this innately disturbing production.

    If you’re one of those types who tends to shy away from the graphic side of things, then I’d HIGHLY advise you to keep your TV tuned to the Hallmark Channel for some holiday entertainment, because this one registers high on the “I can’t believe someone thought of this” meter. So the quick recap is this: Oberst Jr in a standout performance, visual excellence, and an unshakable sense of debasement on a cellular level – keep the kiddies out of the living room with this one. Corona should be lauded (or locked up – just kidding) for his work on this one – HIGHLY recommended, and one that I’ll throw down as a top 5 for me in 2017.

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    Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End Review: A Heavy Metal Massacre In Cartoon Form

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    Starring Alex House, Bill Turnbull, Maggie Castle, Melanie Leishman, Chris Leavins, Jason Mewes

    Directed by Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace


    “Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil” – Canadian television’s greatest blend of Evil Dead, Superbad and Deathgasm? Yes. That answer is yes. For two face-melting seasons, Todd “protected” Crowley High from episodic villains who were bested by metal riffs, stoner logic and hormonal companionship. Musical interruptions showcased stage theatrics like Sondheim meets pubescent Steel Panther and high school tropes manifested into vile, teen-hungry beasts. It was like a coming-of-age story got stuck between Fangoria pages – all the awkwardness with 100x more guts.

    That – for worse – was until Todd fell to a premature cancellation after Season 2’s clone-club cliffhanger. Indiegogo became the show’s only way to deliver a feature-length finale, except to reduce costs and ensure completion, the project would have to be in cartoon form. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End suggests an animated curtain call for this otherwise live-action production, and from a fan’s perspective, familiar maturation follies befall our favorite bloodsoaked friend group. But for new viewers? Start with the far-superior original show – you’ll be lost, underwhelmed and baffled otherwise.

    Alex House retains his characterization of Todd Smith (in voice only). At this point, Todd has thwarted the book’s apocalyptic plan, Hannah (Melanie Leishman) has died, longtime crush Jenny (Maggie Castle) isn’t as horny for Todd anymore, and best friend Curtis (Bill Turnbull) has sworn Todd’s name to Hell (since Hannah was his girlfriend). Guidance Counselor Atticus Murphy Jr. (Chris Leavins) is now Janitor Atticus Murphy Jr. because Janitor Jimmy (Jason Mewes) is now Counselor Jimmy, yet Crowley High finds itself plagued by the same satanic uprisings despite these new changes. Why is evil still thriving! How is Hannah back in class! Who is the new “Pure Evil One” now that Todd has denied the book! Welcome to the end, friends – or is it a new beginning?

    At just north of 80 minutes, structure runs a bit jagged. We’re used to Todd battling one baddie over a half-hour block – backstory given time to breathe – but in The End Of The End, two mini-boss cretins play second fifth-fiddle to the film’s big-bad monster (well, monsters – but you’ll see). A double-dose of high school killers followed by a larger, more important battle with the gang’s fate hanging in the balance. Not a problem, it’s just that more length is spent singing songs about Todd’s non-functioning schlong and salvaging relationships from the S2 finale. Exposition (what little there is) chews into necessary aggression time – fans left ravenous for more versatile carnage, underwhelmed by the umpteenth cartoon erection gag. Did I mention there’s a lot of boner material, yet?

    These two mini “chapters” – “No Vest For The Wicked” (yarn demon)/”Zits Alors” (acid acne) – never come close to rivaling Hannah Williams’ doppelganger bombshell (“Songs About Boners”/”This Is The End Of The End Of the End”). Hannah [X]. Williams waking up in a room full of other Hannahs, emerging from some sleep-pod chamber; Todd’s gang facing off against this new “chosen one” in a way that erases “Sack Boy” and “Pizza Face” from memory. The End Of The End dashes dildoes-swinging into the show’s biggest mystery while dropping call-backs and bodies with equal speed – maybe too hastily for some.

    Now, about the whole pivot to animation – a smooth rendering of Crowley High and all its mayhem, but never representative of Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil‘s very Ash Vs. Evil Dead vibe. All the practical death effects (gigantic man-eating cakes, zombie rockstars) are lost to one-dimensional drawings, notable chemistry between cast members replaced by edited recordings lacking signature wits. This isn’t Metalocalypse, where dismemberment and bloodshed are gruesome on levels that outshine even live-action horror flicks. There’s no denying some of the magic is missing without Chris Leavins’ “creepy uncle” overacting (a Will Forte breed) or the book’s living incarnations of evil. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End plays hooded minion to Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil’s dark ruler – less powerful, a bit duncier, but still part of the coolest cult around. Just try not to think about how much radness is missing inside hand-traced Crowley High?

    It’s hard not to strike comparisons between “reality” and ‘toon, because as noted above, live actors are sorely missed in a plethora of situations. Be they musical numbers, heretic slayings, Todd and Curtis’ constant references to wanking, wangs or other pelvic nods (no, for real, like every other sentence) – human reactions no longer temper such aggressive, self-gratifying cocksmanship. It doesn’t help that songs never reach the memorable level of “Horny Like The Devil,” but the likes of House, Leishman, Turnbull and Castle were masters of selling schlock, shock and Satan’s asshole of situations. Instead, lines now land flat like – for example – Leavins’ lessened ability to turn pervy, stalkerish quips into hilarious underage stranger-dangers. Again, it’s not Metalocalypse – and without that kind of designer depth, a wall prevents inter-dimensional immersion into Todd’s extracurricular madness.

    If this review sounds over-negative, fret not – it’s merely wishes of what could have been. None of this is to say Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End should be skipped. When you’re already known for masterstrokes of ballbusting immaturity, metal-horned malevolence and vicious teen-angst creature vanquishing, expectations are going to be sky high. Directors Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace successfully service fans with a smile, ensuring that rivers of red scribbled blood spurt from decapitated school children just like we’re used to. It’s just, I mean – ugh, sorry, I just have to say it one more time. BY DIMEBAG’S BEARD, this would have been an epic live-action flick. As is? Still one fine-with-a-capital-F-YEAH return to Crowley High for the faithful who’ve been waiting some 5-or-so years in a Todd-less purgatory.

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