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Halloween Horror Nights: An Exclusive Early Look at Renderings for the New Alice Cooper Maze

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Feel that cool breeze in the air at night? Fall is on the way, which means Halloween isn’t far behind. To help get you in the spirit, the folks at Halloween Horror Nights sent over an early look at some renderings for the new Alice Cooper maze.

From the Press Release
Multi-platinum recording artist Alice Cooper, a mastermind of the rock horror genre, will conjure up his peculiar vision of disturbing horror imagery in two new haunted attractions debuting this fall at Halloween Horror Nights at both Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.

For the first time ever at Universal Orlando Resort’s award-winning event, Alice Cooper’s own version of a demented and dark subconscious will come to life in the haunted maze, “Alice Cooper – Welcome to My Nightmare.” Inspired by iconic elements from his first solo album, the attraction will put guests inside the haunted dreams of the album’s recurring character, “Steven,” as he endures the scream-inducing madness spawned from the mind of the legendary rocker.

Making an encore performance at Universal Studios Hollywood’s acclaimed event, Alice Cooper’s new haunted attraction, “Alice Cooper Goes to Hell 3D,” will be inspired by the musician’s classic concept album centered on unending darkness, eternal torment and unimaginable horrors. The terrifying maze will beckon guests to experience hell’s interminable inferno as imagined through the eyes of hard rock visionary Alice Cooper. To experience this daunting new maze, guests will don 3D glasses for an optimum up close and personal three-dimensional encounter with Alice Cooper’s underworld.

Halloween Horror Nights: An Exclusive Early Look at Renderings for the New Alice Cooper Maze

Halloween Horror Nights: An Exclusive Early Look at Renderings for the New Alice Cooper Maze

Halloween Horror Nights: An Exclusive Early Look at Renderings for the New Alice Cooper Maze

Halloween Horror Nights: An Exclusive Early Look at Renderings for the New Alice Cooper Maze

Halloween Horror Nights: An Exclusive Early Look at Renderings for the New Alice Cooper Maze

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Alice Cooper pioneered the concept of the theatrical rock concert. His recording career spans six decades, includes more than two dozen albums, millions of record sales, countless world tours and appearances in scores of movies and videos, including “Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy’s Dead,” Universal Pictures’ “Prince of Darkness” and a memorable appearance in the recent “Dark Shadows.” Last fall, Alice Cooper released his acclaimed “Welcome 2 My Nightmare,” his long-awaited sequel to his 1975 classic “Welcome to My Nightmare,” which debuted at No. 22 on the Billboard 200.

Sharing his enthusiasm, Alice Cooper said, “I grew up watching classic Universal horror movies so it’s a thrill for me to work with Universal’s designers to create the quintessential Alice Cooper maze for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort. To have Alice Cooper haunted attractions at both parks this year is truly an honor…or is it a horror? Last year, Universal Studios Hollywood scared the wits out of me with their maniacal and demented creation and they’ve promised to up the ante with ‘Alice Cooper Goes To Hell 3D.’ I can’t wait to see the final terrifying masterpiece. It will be hell. I’m even more excited to see Universal Orlando Resort’s maze, ‘Alice Cooper – Welcome To My Nightmare. Let’s see if they can scare me!”

“There are few as coolly demented as Alice Cooper,” said Jim Timon, Senior Vice President of Entertainment at Universal Orlando Resort. “He’s a cult classic icon and his partnership on the ‘Alice Cooper – Welcome to My Nightmare’ maze will bring something completely new and unexpected to our Halloween Horror Nights fans.”

John Murdy, Creative Director at Universal Studios Hollywood, said, “We wanted to break new ground with the insanely immersive ‘Alice Cooper Goes to Hell 3D’ maze and elevate its journey into the abyss to a shocking new level. The cutting-edge 3D technology we invented for this haunted attraction will add a palatable sense of realism to an already twisted environment that only music genius Alice Cooper could envision. Through innovative sets and LED technology, we’ve totally pushed the envelope to turn Alice’s maze into a mind-blowing 3D experience for his fans and Halloween Horror Nights guests.”

Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights® events have a more than 20-year history of creating incredibly entertaining, horrifying Halloween experiences that are consistently rated the nations’ best. The events on each coast feature highly-themed, disturbingly real, haunted mazes based on everything from film to nightmares — and streets filled with hundreds of specially trained “scareactors.”

Tickets to this year’s Hollywood event are available for purchase here, including a Front of Line ticket option that enables guests to enjoy priority access at each maze and theme park attraction. Advance purchase is recommended as event nights will sell out. (If you’re on the East Coast, Orlando tickets have been on sale for a few weeks – get those here!)

Details on “Halloween Horror Nights” are available at Halloween Horror Nights.com. Updates from Creative Director John Murdy can be found on Twitter, as he reveals a running chronicle of exclusive information. “Halloween Horror Nights” maze announcement videos can be seen at Universal Studios Hollywood’s YouTube Channel.

Alice Cooper Returns to Halloween Horror Nights!

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The Crucifixion Review – Should’ve Left This One Nailed to the Cross

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Starring Sophie Cookson, Corneliu Ulici, Ada Lupu

Directed by Xavier Gens


Claiming to be inspired by actual events, director Xavier Gens’ The Crucifixion forgoes the affecting shocks and awes, and instead beats its audience into the ground with a laundry-list of ho-hum dialogue and lesser-than-stellar instances…forget the priest, I need a friggin’ Red Bull.

A 2005 case is spotlighted, and it revolves around a psychotically damaged woman of the cloth (nun for all you laymen) who priests believed was inhabited by ol’ Satan himself. With one rogue priest in command who firmly believed that this was the work of something satanic, the nun was subject to a horrific exorcism in which she was chained to a cross and basically left to die, which ultimately resulted in the priest being stripped of his collar and rosary…how tragic. Enter an overzealous New York reporter (Cookson) who is intently focused upon traveling to Romania to get the scoop on the botched undertaking. After her arrival, the only point of view that seems to keep sticking with interviewees is that the man who sat close to the lord killed a helpless, innocent and stricken woman, that is until she meets up with another nun and a village priest – and their claims are of something much more sinister.

From there, the battle between good and evil rages…well, let me rephrase that: it doesn’t exactly “rage” – instead, it simmers but never boils. Unfortunately for those who came looking for some serious Father Karras action will more than likely be disappointed. The performances border on labored with cursory characters, and outside of some beautiful cinematography, this one failed to chew out of its five-point restraints.

I’d normally prattle on and on about this and that, just to keep my word limit at a bit of a stretch, but with this particular presentation, there just isn’t much to bore you all with (see what I just did there). Gens certainly had the right idea when constructing this film according to blueprints…but it’s like one of those pieces of Wal-Mart furniture that when you open the box, all you can find are the instructions that aren’t in your language – wing and a prayer…but we all know what prayers get you, don’t we, Father?

My advice to all who come seeking some hellacious activity – stick to The Exorcist and you’ll never be let down.

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2

Summary

The Crucifixion is one of those films that needs the help of the man above in order to raise its faith, but I think he might have been out to lunch when this one came around.

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Giallo Makes A Comeback With Crystal Eyes

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The giallo genre has somewhat fallen off the radar in recent years, but that’s all about to change with the new Argentinian film Crystal Eyes (original title: Mirada de Cristal). Set in 1985, the film’s about a series of murders taking place in the glamorous and colorful fashion world, so it sounds like a true giallo throwback.

Crystal Eyes was directed by Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano, and stars Silvia Montanari, Anahí Politi, Erika Boveri, and Claudio Armesto. It screened at both the Mar del Plata International Film Festival and the Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre Film Festival, and received a great audience reception at both. We were sent the trailer for the film along with the poster and a bunch of lobby cards, which we proudly present below.

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Black Christmas Blu-ray Review – Making Its U.K. Debut From 101 Films

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Starring Keir Dullea, Olivia Hussey, John Saxon, Art Hindle

Directed by Bob Clark

Distributed by 101 Films


There is only one Bob Clark Christmas movie I watch each year and it doesn’t feature Ralphie and his Red Ryder fantasies.

The endurance of Clark’s 1974 legendary slasher, Black Christmas, can be chalked up to a number of factors but the greatest is this: it is a disturbing film. I frequently come across horror message board topics asking for genuinely scary titles devoid of jump scares and excessive gore, but oddly enough Black Christmas doesn’t get many mentions. Maybe because it has been relegated to the “seasonal viewing only” heap? Regardless, fans will agree that the unsettling events portrayed don’t diminish with repeat viewings; if anything, subsequent watching serves to reinforce that it is a standout among a sea of imitators. The film is also a noted influence on John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) – arguably the granddaddy of slasher films – adding a bit of prestige to its legacy.

The girls of Pi Kappa Sig are throwing a holiday party before the Christmas break when, toward the end of the night, they receive a phone call from a man they’ve been calling “The Moaner”, who has a habit of calling and making unusual noises. Jess (Olivia Hussey) initially accepts the call but also allows her other sisters to listen in, prompting outspoken Barb (Margot Kidder) to jump on the line and goad this mystery man. She and Phyllis (Andrea Martin) argue over the possibility this guy may be more threatening than anyone realizes. Unbeknownst to the ladies partying downstairs, however, moments before the phone call came through an unidentified person (very likely this same caller) snuck up the side of the house and into the attic. And once the party wraps up that same person is found hiding in Claire’s (Lynne Griffin) closet, whereupon she is strangled and placed in a rocking chair in the attic.

The next day Claire’s father comes to the campus to meet her and is understandably stood up. He heads to the sorority house and reports her missing, at which point the girls and their housemother, Mrs. Mac (Marian Waldman), agree to help him locate her. The file a report with the police, led by Lt. Fuller (John Saxon), and Jess also wrangles in Claire’s semi-boyfriend, Chris (Art Hindle), who helps bolster the search by raising hell at the station. Jess, meanwhile, is having problems of her own after confessing to her boyfriend, Peter (Keir Dullea), she is pregnant. She wants an abortion; he is vehemently against it. Claire’s absence grows more concerning when another missing girl is found dead in a nearby park, prompting the cops to ramp up their efforts. The girls are being picked off one by one as the unseen assailant remains hidden in the attic, continuing his phone calls that come after each murder. The cops suspect Peter may be a person of interest, as his interactions with Jess have become increasingly aggressive, but everyone is in for a shock when a tap on the line reveals the true source of the calls – they are coming from within the house.

With the film having been around for over forty years, and fans having been sold one “upgraded” home video version after the next, I suspect most readers are more interested in how Scream Factory’s Blu-ray stacks up against similar editions – which is basically my way of saying this review is a bit glib. For the uninitiated, however, let me say that I cannot overstate how exceptional Clark’s film is – never giving the killer an identity, an entire subplot concerning abortion, a palpable sense of grief for Claire’s father, a cast of interesting, unique people who don’t ever feel like archetypes, and a potentially downer of an ending. Some of his moviemaking tricks are brilliant, like the decision to create Billy’s voice from a combination of three different people (one a woman) and using interchangeable actors to portray the killer so you’re never quite sure who is in the attic. Carl Zittrer’s score is disorienting and minimal, making use of odd instrumentation to add extra unease; it also appears infrequently, giving the movie more of a real life quality. Black Christmas was a reasonable success upon release, more so commercially than critically, but time has been kind to this old gem and many now view it as an outright horror classic.

Hell, it was Elvis’ favorite Christmas movie.

Cult label 101 Films is giving the film its U.K. debut, presenting a transfer that is nearly identical to the remastered version Scream Factory released last year in North America. That 1.85:1 1080p picture is very likely the best this film can and will ever look. Black Christmas has a long home video history of looking very grainy, murky, dulled, and soft. I can’t say the new disc’s results are far off that mark but there are clear improvements. For one, grain has been resolved in a tighter field that looks less “noisy” and more “grindhouse-y”; do not expect an image clear as a crystal unicorn by any means. There is still softness to many faces and objects though detail looks far better here than it ever has before. Colors are more vibrant, too. Black levels run on the hazy side but they’re more stable than ever. The only noticeable difference between the Scream Factory and 101 Films versions are the latter is a touch brighter, allowing for a little more detail to filter through.

Audio is available via an English LPCM 5.1 surround sound track or a 2.0 stereo option. The multi-channel effort grants the unsettling soundtrack and Billy’s insane vocalizations more room to breathe, ratcheting up the creepiness thanks to the sense of immersion. Unlike the Scream Factory edition, the original mono track is not included.

Only a handful of extra features have been included, all of which can be found on the Scream Factory edition, too.

“Film and Furs: Remembering Black Christmas with Art Hindle” – Hindle, who still owns that jacket, talks about being a working actor in Canada when there wasn’t much work, as well as how he wound up auditioning for Clark for a different role.

“Victims and Virgins: Remembering Black Christmas with Lynne Griffin” – The actress who is most famous for having a plastic bag over her head tells a few tales from the set.

“Black Christmas Legacy” – This is a lot of interviews from the film’s actors and notable fans. I found it to be a bit tedious.

A handful of original TV and radio spots have been included, along with the “40th Anniversary Reunion Panel: Fan Expo Canada 2014”.

The package also includes a fold-out poster, reversible cover art, and a DVD copy.

Special Features:

  • Film and Furs: Remembering Black Christmas with Art Hindle
  • Victims and Virgins: Remembering Black Christmas with Lynne Griffin
  • Black Christmas Legacy
  • Original TV and Radio spots
  • 40th Anniversary Reunion Panel: Fan Expo Canada 2014
  • Black Christmas
  • Special Features
4.0

Summary

This is an easy recommendation for purchase if you live in the U.K., since this is the film’s Blu-ray debut. Stateside readers may find this region-free version attractive due to the price, but know that it does contain significantly fewer extras than the in-print Scream Factory release. Either way, fans on both sides of the Atlantic have a version worth buying.

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