Dread Central Takes a Tour of HHN's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Saw Is the Law Maze! Photos and Video! - Dread Central
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Dread Central Takes a Tour of HHN’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Saw Is the Law Maze! Photos and Video!

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Universal Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights creative director John Murdy and art director Chris Williams took us for a stroll through their under construction The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Saw Is the Law fright maze, and what we saw was nothing short of amazing.

Read on for details, our photo gallery, and a video clip!

The successes of the mazes at Halloween Horror Nights (for this writer) have historically been bound to the properties which they license. Case in point: the 2009 Halloween attraction (based on John Carpenter’s original fright classic) was nothing short of sublime and immersed attendees in the world of that film. Traversing it was akin to actually walking in the unfortunate footsteps of Haddonfield resident Laurie Strode, bell-bottoms, coat hangers, and all. Like that, this year’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Saw Is the Law maze promises to do the same, as Murdy and Co. have loyally imagined Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic and are prepped to hit the majority of the film’s iconic moments as well as some rather unexpected ones horror fans will undoubtedly rejoice in.

Murdy and Williams, who work as a team from the initial design to execution of the attractions, met us on the lower lot of Universal Studios Hollywood to discuss their approach in creating Hooper’s film as a real-life experience.

“I’ve always wanted to do this one,” stated Murdy of the maze. “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre had a huge influence on me growing up, and Tobe [Hooper] is a huge fan of what we’ve done in the past. In 2007 and in 2008 we did do The Texas Chainsaw Massacre [maze], although those were based on the [Platinum Dunes] remake, but this one is different as it’s based on the original film, and the day has arrived when we can finally do it.”

Paying homage to the original house employed in the production of Hooper’s film (which served as the fictional Sawyer family’s place of residence) and the things which occurred in it, Murdy has faithfully recreated the rural Texas abattoir, including, but not limited to, the iconic steel door and the kill room which it hides, the film’s dinner table sequence, the meat hook impalement, and much, much more.

“We are trying to get all of the details right,” said Murdy of the attraction, which at the time was being dressed with a variety of macabre replica artifacts from the film on which it is based. “We are making everything from scratch,” he continued. “We don’t go to prop houses and rent things. We are either creating or using things from our existing inventory and modifying them. That’s quite a task for our prop departments, but they are very passionate about it – and about Halloween in general.”

As for his approach to Leatherface, the mentally impaired, cross-dressing cannibal at the center of the film, “Like the early Universal [monster films], what I always thought made them powerful and lasting were characters that you could sympathize with,” stated Murdy.

“Frankenstein’s Monster is a very sympathetic character, and I feel the same way about Leatherface in the original [TCM film]. When he kills his first victim, he’s whacking himself on the head and sitting in that chair rocking back and forth, and to me that makes it scary. I love the fact that the character isn’t just a masked killer with no emotion. He definitely has emotion, and that’s something we are really going to work with the actors on because we want to bring that across in the attraction.”

“I’m using a lot of dialogue from the film in this maze,” said Murdy of the attraction’s aural design, which perfectly aped many of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre actor Edwin Neal’s lines during our tour. “I don’t always use a lot dialogue when I put the audio together, but there are so many lines that I love from the original film, like ‘Look what you did to the door!’ and all of that stuff, so you are going to hear that while you are going through it, and with all of the transitions, there are always one of the characters foreshadowing where you will be going next.”

If our tour was any indication, prepare yourself for a fully immersive experience into the world of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre once Halloween Horror Nights kicks off on Friday, September 21, 2012. It continues on select nights through Wednesday, October 31. Event dates are: September 21, 22, 28, and 29 and October 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 31.

Tickets and vacation packages are on sale now. 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.

Keep your eyes on Dread Central for our annual coverage of the Eyegore Awards and the grand opening of Halloween Horror Nights.

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Whatever Happened to John Gulager’s Children of the Corn: Runaway?

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Sometimes a movie goes into production and then seemingly disappears from the world altogether. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Usually, Dimension is involved.

Ouch. But true.

Such as Amityville: The Awakening which was filmed in 2014 but didn’t get released until recently this year (3 years). And All the Boys Love Mandy Lane which was completed in 2006 but didn’t see release until September of 2013 – a whopping 7 years!

Another such movie you may not have even heard about – or more specifically – may not remember hearing about is the lost Children of the Corn sequel from Feast-director John Gulager called Children of the Corn: Runaway.

What follows is the history of the film as best as we could piece together, along with a possible update on just when we might expect to see this missing sequel.

It’s worth noting right off the top that this film is closely linked to yet another Dimension film which still has yet to see the light of day, Hellraiser: Judgment. Both films were produced around the same time, in the same area, under producer Michael Leahy.

Anyhow, the first word we heard on the production of Children of the Corn: Runaway came on March 21, 2016, when it was merely rumored that there was a new Children of the Corn movie secretly being filmed in Oklahoma City, OK.

It was thought at the time (and most likely true) that Dimension was rushing out a sequel so they could keep the rights to the franchise, regardless if they had a release plan or not.

That same day we learned that the new film was directed by John Gulager and was going by the title Children of the Corn: Runaway. We also learned the film was currently shooting in Oklahoma City, OK and the surrounding area including Luther and Coyle and that filming would wrap on April 2nd of that year.

Joel Soisson was rumored as the screenwriter for the new film, and Gatlin Returns, Inc. (natch) was producing with Mike Leahy, Joel Soisson, and Sean Patrick Eaton.

At the time, the plot of the movie was rumored to be:
A young pregnant Ruth who escapes a murderous child cult in a small Midwestern town. She spends the next decade living anonymously in an attempt to spare her son the horrors that she experienced as a child. She lands in the small Oklahoma town, but something is following her. Now, she must confront this evil or lose her child.

Then all of this info was confirmed the very next day by press release.

A month later on April 13, 2016, we got a bevy of behind the scenes pics via News OK – all courtesy of Nathan Poppe – and you can check all of those out below.

After that? Nada. Total silence for 19 months. Children of the Corn: Runaway seemed to fall off the edge of the world. Just like Hellraiser: Judgment.

But unlike Judgment, which gets fairly regular updates via new Pinhead Paul T. Taylor and director Gary J. Tunnicliffe, no one seems to be talking about Runaway. At all.

What’s the deal?

Truthfully, we’re still not sure. In the researching of this article, we reached out to director John Gulager, writer Joel Soisson, producer Michael Leahy, and new Malachi actor Blaine Maye. But all of these leads came up fruitless.

That is until I attempted to contact lead actress Marci Miller.

While I was unable to contact her directly, I did take a look at her Instagram, where I was able to confirm that the film is currently doing some ADR and will be shooting for a February/March release date.

Here is her post:

Children of the Corn #ComingSoon

A post shared by Marci Miller (@_marcimiller_) on

And if you look closely, you can see that a fan asked (and I’m paraphrasing):

“When will the movie be released?”

And below you will see Miller’s reply:

“February/March.”

For now, that is all the new info we can find on Children of the Corn: Runaway.

That said, with Dimension and the Weinstein Company going under recently, maybe another top horror producer (You listening, Jason Blum?) will snatch up the rights to this and Hellraiser: Judgement and we will finally see the films released.

After all, in the above-mentioned set-visit from NEW OK, producer Michael Leahy said this about Children of the Corn: Runaway and Hellraiser: Judgment:

“We’ve had a lot of fun,” Leahy told the site back in 2016. “Blood has been flowing here in Oklahoma City. These are two horror films that are going to be seen by a core audience.”

Yeah, we’ll see about that…

We’re not trying to be pessimistic here, but really this is getting ridiculous at this point. Will we ever see Children of the Corn: Runaway and/or Hellraiser: Judgment? Your guess is, unfortunately, as good as mine.

Fingers crossed. We’ll let you know when we hear more.

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Synapse’s Suspiria 4K Restoration Gets a Release Date

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Earlier this year, we wrote about Synapse Films’ Suspiria 4K restoration and how it was available for pre-order. The weird catch was that there was no release date confirmed and that pre-orders would go out sometime in December 2017. Today that changes as we can confirm that the 3-disc special edition Blu-ray collection will come out December 19th, just in time for Christmas but a little late for Hanukkah. Any chance we can have one extra night this year?

Restored over three years, Synapse has been working tirelessly to create the ultimate version of Dario Argento’s 1977 classic supernatural horror film, which has since gone on to become one of the most recognized and lauded titles in the genre. This cut has been overseen and approved by Luciano Tovoli, the Director of Photography on the film.

Pre-orders are still available via Synapse Films’ website.

Special features:
*Limited edition of only 6000 units produced
*Exclusive Steelbook packaging and collector’s o-card sleeve, featuring artwork from Malleus, Van Orton Design, Juan José Saldarriaga & Chris MacGibbon
*Three disc [Two Blu-rays + One CD] limited collector’s edition (only 6000 units) containing a new 4K restoration of the original uncut, uncensored Italian 35mm camera negative exclusively done by Synapse Films, with color correction supervised and approved by SUSPIRIA Director of Photography, Luciano Tovoli
*Original 4.0 1977 English language LCRS sound mix not heard since the theatrical release in 1977, presented in high-resolution DTS-HD MA 96 Khz/24-bit audio
*Italian 5.1 surround sound mix
*Two audio commentaries by authors and Argento scholars, Derek Botelho, David Del Valle & Troy Howarth
*Do You Know Anything About Witches? – 30 minute SUSPIRIA visual essay written, edited and narrated by Michael Mackenzie
*Suzy in Nazi Germany – Featurette on the German locations from SUSPIRIA
*A Sigh from the Depths: 40 Years of SUSPIRIA – All-new anniversary retrospective on the making of the film and its influence on cinema
*Olga’s Story – Interview with star Barbara Magnolfi
*Original theatrical trailers, TV spots and radio spots
*Special Collector Edition Booklet containing an American Cinematographer interview with Luciano Tovoli, liner notes by Derek Botelho and restoration notes by Vincent Pereira & Don May, Jr. Cover artwork by Matthew Therrien Illustration
*“International Classics” English “Breathing Letters” opening credit sequence from U.S. release version
*Alternate All-English opening and closing credits sequences, playable via seamless branching
*Newly translated, removable English SDH subtitles for the English language version
*Newly translated, removable English subtitles for the Italian language version
*Exclusive CD remaster of Goblin’s SUSPIRIA motion picture soundtrack, containing additional tracks not included on the original 1977 soundtrack release

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Creep 2 Starring Mark Duplass Hits Netflix This December

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Just the other day we shared with you guys an exclusive interview with Partick Brice, the director of the Mark Duplass-starring found footage flicks Creep and Creep 2.

Today we have the awesome news that the killer sequel Creep 2 (review) will be hitting Netflix streaming on December 23rd.

The original creeptastic motion picture is already streaming on Netflix so if you need to catch up – or just watch the original again – you can do so tonight and get ready for the sequel which, personally, I found to be superior (if even just slightly) to the original.

What did you think of the original film? Are you excited to check out the sequel? Or have you already seen it? Make sure to let us know in the comments below or on social media!

Creep 2 starring Mark Duplass and Desiree Akhavan hits Netflix December 23rd!

Synopsis:

Desiree Akhavan (“Girls”, APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR) stars as Sara, a video artist whose primary focus is creating intimacy with lonely men. After finding an ad online for “video work,” she thinks she may have found the subject of her dreams. She drives to a remote house in the forest and meets a man claiming to be a serial killer (Mark Duplass, reprising his role from the previous film). Unable to resist the chance to create a truly shocking piece of art, she agrees to spend the day with him. However, as the day goes on she discovers she may have dug herself into a hole she can’t escape.

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