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Exclusive: Opening The Dead Files – An In-Depth Interview with Amy Allan

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“The Dead Files” on Travel Channel

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For many years I’ve watched just about every paranormal related show there is. Around 90% of them include a medium or some kind of sensitive who usually ends up making things seem silly what with their “feelings” and such. On “The Dead Files,” however, this is far from the case.

Amy Allan is the co-host of the Travel Channel TV show “The Dead Files” and also a physical medium who uses her abilities to communicate with the dead in some of the most frighteningly real ways imaginable. Simply put, she’s either the greatest actress in the world or 100% legit. Together with her co-host, retired homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi (interview here), the duo investigate hauntings and phenomena all over the country including Alcatraz and the famed Lizzie Borden House. They bring with them a no bullshit approach that’s rarely seen nowadays, and to say it’s compelling is a bit of an understatement.

Recently Amy sat down with us to discuss not only the show but also what led her to it.

Exclusive: Opening The Dead Files - An In-Depth Interview with Amy Allan

“The first memory I have of dealing with the paranormal was when I was four years old and had encountered shadow people,” says Allan. “I really thought they were my friends. They came every night and I would see them on the walls. It was actually a male and a female presence. They were really friendly and nice. We were friends over a long period of time, and eventually they asked me to go with them. They told me to bite the electrical cord on my humidifier, which I did and was electrocuted. After that I realized obviously that they weren’t good, and that’s kind of when they got scary. They would peel off of the wall and stare at me, or they would scream at me. It was a very traumatizing experience, not only because they were shadow people and they were negative and they tried to kill me, but also because I really thought that they were my friends. They betrayed me in the utmost manner by trying to inflict harm on me.”

Growing up, things only became more confusing and frustrating for the young woman.

“Throughout my younger years there would be random experiences like when I was eight or ten years old. I would see people when I was with my friends that they couldn’t see. and I really didn’t understand that. For instance, one time my friend and I were playing in the living room of my house. We had set up like a little Barbie kingdom of sorts. We then went to get some food, some snacks. When we came back, everything was ruined. Things were all tossed around and torn up, and my friend just screamed and ran out of the house. I was just standing there looking at this little boy who had lived in my house and who was dead. I didn’t understand why she would freak out and was afraid. She didn’t see him; she only saw what had happened to the Barbies, and that was one of the moments where I was like, ‘Hmmm… that’s odd. She was afraid but couldn’t see him, but I could and wasn’t scared at all.’ That was just one of those moments. It took until I was about thirteen years old for me to realize that I was different, and I was really upset by this. I just wanted to be normal. I didn’t want to see these things. I just wanted to be like everybody else.”

Realizing that being normal would never be the case, Allan tried to learn more about what was happening to her.

Amy continued, “For years I had studied the subject of death and the paranormal. I read all of the books and research papers… I was very into the science of it all. In my twenties I started using my ability professionally. I said to myself, ‘Okay, I have this thing and it is not going away. What can I do with it?’ I started doing lots of research to help me get a handle on these abilities so that I could start helping others to understand what they were going through. At first I started giving readings as a means to help people find closure with their loved ones. That was good, but my thing was always that I was seeing all these dead people who were trapped in homes and couldn’t get out. I felt really bad for them, and above all it was them that I wanted to help the most. It really started with me wanting to help the dead more than the living!” *laughs* “The way that the living deal with death and dying and the dead sometimes irritates me. Trying to understand living individuals’ perspective on these things has been a real learning experience for me. I try to educate them so that they have a bit more compassion for those who have passed. We tend to Westernize the subject of death here. It’s very sterilized and we try to keep the subject away from us, but it’s not. It’s something that we’re all going to experience.

That being said, Amy got immediately to work.

“Over the years I began working with private detectives and police officers and agents. The way that we do the show is very similar to what I did while out in the field. When the idea for the show came about, it was imperative that my partner be someone that was an outside source. Someone who wasn’t biased by me and hadn’t worked with me. That was Steve [Di Schiavi]. It’s an amazing thing that we have together. We work really, really well with each other. He’s an amazing guy, and he knows his shit! *laughs*

Exclusive: Opening The Dead Files - An In-Depth Interview with Amy Allan


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Collectively Amy and Steve have now worked dozens of cases together. Most infamous for this writer is “Fear at the Family Tree” (Season 2, Episode 2), in which she encountered something truly ghastly that could only be described as demonic in nature.

“Its appearance was a bit like that,” says Amy of the demon-like misshapen creature, “but what this being consisted of was actually the souls of ordinary dead people. These souls were combined to make up this being which took all of these individuals’ negative aspects and created this incredibly negative entity that is still tagging people who, when they die, will have their soul claimed and integrated into this thing’s whole. Just last week I received an e-mail from the clients, and they are now moving forward with the cleansing I suggested. The actions of this entity were a big worry for me because not only are the owners at risk of dying and being sucked into that hell, but everyone who goes there is as well. It wasn’t just about the legal occupants. It was about all of these people.

Pretty frightening stuff, and lord knows in order to do this kind of thing you need a pretty rough exterior. So then the question beckoned, has there ever been anything out there that she has encountered that was too much for her?

“I really didn’t like the Santa Fe Prison” (Season 2, Episode 10). “That place was really bad. It made me violently ill. My experiences there have stayed with me for a long time. I absolutely hated that location. I have never ever seen such evil. There was an entity there that I would call a devil. It had so much power, and I could sense that it was never human. It was beyond anything I’ve ever known or dealt with. They didn’t show the scene on the show, but we went into the execution room and I was literally rendered absolutely speechless. It was so overwhelming and horrible. Yeah, that place needs to go. Knock it down… if you really need to put something there, just put like a parking lot.

Exclusive: Opening The Dead Files - An In-Depth Interview with Amy Allan

With “The Dead Files” returning to Travel Channel this October, we asked Allan what viewers could expect from the new episodes. Being that they’re still shooting, there wasn’t much that she could say; however, she did have this to offer fans:

“Steve and I have been talking about new places that we’d really like to cover,”says Allan. “One of them is the Villisca Axe Murder House in Villisca, Iowa. That’s something we both would very much like to do to see if we can find out what really happened there and who was behind it. I personally still wish for the Amityville house. I want that so bad. It’s just a fascinating case. For the new season Steve and I have run into a lot of creepy things thus far. Things we have never seen before. It’s shocking, ya know? I think I’ve seen it all, and then no. I’m going to places that I never would have had access to before. The living people I’m encountering along with the dead who surround them… Every time it’s different. Some people ask me, ‘Well why were you so shocked? You’ve been doing this forever.’ What they don’t realize is that it’s not a cookie-cutter kind of thing. It’s never the same. You just cannot expect anything.”

She added, “There’s no place that I wouldn’t investigate. I’m up for anything. I would LOVE to do some international locations. I’d do it in a heartbeat. I lived in Yugoslavia for a long time and have done a lot of traveling, and let me tell you, there is A LOT out there.”

There are a lot of dangerous things in the paranormal field that fledgling ghost hunters and even people just screwing around could find themselves facing. It’s really easy to do something wrong, and Allan had this to say about a very common practice – the usage of Ouija boards…

“Yeah, I don’t like Ouijas. The thing about them that is different than other tools is that it’s a summoning device. What you are doing is you are calling out things… whether it’s dead people or some kind of other scary thing, you are opening a door to let everything and anything in. People need to look at that. This is not just a game; it is a summoning device. You are summoning things to you. When you do that, you are in it for the long haul. You’re screwed.

From there Amy had some words for people out there who are interested in this most controversial subject… advice on how to go about investigating the proper way.

“There’s a true learning curve to doing this. If you’re passionate and this is something that you really want to do, take some time to read the literature that’s out there. Read about parapsychology, look at the studies. Look at what the proper instruments you need are and find out how they can be applicable in the field. Always do your research first before you go running out there and jumping off the cliff. Through that research and study you will learn how to do it right and, more importantly, how to do it safely. “

Sounds like some good advice, if you ask us. New episodes of “The Dead Files” return beginning Friday, October 5th, and this season also features a number of “Dead Files Revisited” episodes in which Amy and Steve look back on previous investigations and follow up with the clients.

Big thanks to Amy for her time, and a shout-out to Stephanie DePietro for her help in making this happen.

Exclusive: Opening The Dead Files - An In-Depth Interview with Amy Allan

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Friday the 13th: The Game Welcomes Back Shelly Finkelstein This Monday!

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Earlier this past year, all of us Friday the 13th Part 3 fans we delighted when “Friday the 13th: The Game” added in Fox (Gloria Charles) as a playable character.

And now we have the announcement that another beloved character from Friday the 13th Part 3 will be joining the game this December.

Yes, Shelly Finkelstein (Larry Zerner) will be coming back to Camp Crystal Lake!

The Shelly playable character will be available for free with the latest patch. The new update will be coming for PS4 and Steam on Monday, Dec. 18th. The Xbox One patch to follow shortly.

Below you can watch the announcement trailer which was posted on Twitter earlier tonight.

After giving it a watch make sure to let us know how excited you are to see Shelly (aka the man who gave Jason his mask) back in action below!

Shelly Finkelstein hits Friday the 13th: The Game for PS4 and Steam on Monday, Dec. 18th.

Welcome Back Shelly!

The man responsible for 'handing' Jason his mask, Shelly Finkelstein will be coming back to Camp Crystal Lake to troll his fellow counselors…that is until Jason shows up! Get Shelly for free with the latest patch!The latest update will be coming for PS4 and Steam on Monday, Dec. 18th with the Xbox One patch to follow shortly!

Posted by Friday the 13th: The Game on Friday, December 15, 2017

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Graham Humphreys Reveals His Poster For An American Werewolf In London

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Graham Humphreys continues to cement his position as one of the top horror artists in the business with his stunning new poster for An American Werewolf in London. This piece was created as a private commission, and fans of John Landis’ 1981 classic are going to love it. You can view the final design of this incredible poster below.

Final design with text.

Graham also provided us with a detailed statement about the creation of the piece, along with a bunch of screen grabs taken throughout the process. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can see how the final image looks before the text was added. In case you missed it earlier, you can also check out our extended interview with Graham here.

Exclusive Statement from Graham Humphreys
As a commercial artist and illustrator, there is only limited scope to make a job entirely your own – so with each project you are answering a brief in order to fulfill the needs of a client. Of course, the client may choose to give you free reign, though this is with the understanding that you are acknowledging their needs and thus expected to work within certain unspoken parameters. Mostly, these confines are defined by how a product is to be sold, licensing instructions and an understanding a market. With this in mind, the client is paying and thus nominally always right… though it would be unprofessional not to make them aware that other options might work better for them!

Without these commercial constraints, a private commission can remove the barriers because no market is to be met and there is only the artist and the private client to answer to. Creating a poster for a familiar and heavily licensed title is an entirely different prospect if it is not going to be generating money in the public domain and is thus essentially ‘fan art’. Unlike say, a T-shirt company ripping off someone elses art and charging money for the printed image, or perhaps a poster reproduced without permission by either the license owner or artist, then sold for profit.

Here, Dread Central have asked me to talk through one such commission, ‘An American Werewolf in London’, painted as a private commission for an individual that wishes to own a unique image that they themselves have made happen. NB: All likenesses and specific imagery (including the title and names etc) are subject to license and copyright and not for any use other than as examples of a work in progress (and of course, all rights are reserved!). Just need to make sure that it absolutely clear!

The client had commissioned two previous posters from me (as well as numerous poster designs from fellow artists), so a basic understanding of expectations had already been established.

My work begins by watching the film from beginning to end – to re-establish my own connection to the film (if one already exists). I saw ‘An American Werewolf in London’ (in London!) on it’s first run and the proximity to many of the locations (Tottenham Court Road tube station, Piccadilly Circus, being the obvious ones) made it instantly impressionable for me. Existing posters, in particular the official theatrical versions and various home-entertainment sleeves, focused on a limited image pool. My job was to find new ways of representing the film, free of the past baggage, but also to listen to my clients requirements.

Looking for a fresh perspective means avoiding the familiar stills that have defined the past marketing, this is achieved by making screen grabs from the DVD or blu-ray. As with most commercial jobs, I generally make a selection of about 40 images, then review these reducing the number to about 15 that have the best narrative potential, including a good visual range of actor expressions and reactions. My client required the Werewolf, London references, the moors, David and Jack, a full moon and the ‘Slaughtered Lamb’ pub sign… then whatever else I chose to include.

On the basis of the selected screen grabs, I make necessary light and contrast adjustments in photoshop, make them greyscale (removing the distraction of colour) and print them out at a size I can easily trace in pencil onto paper. All the pencil sketches are then scanned into photoshop, so that I can rearrange, resize and move around in order to determine the best layout, one which tells a story and has a visual impact. (I find it’s better to present sketched layouts rather than a photocomp’s, partly because the photographic material is usually of varying quality, but also because a pencil rough is more fluid and does not dictate the final impression).

Selected screen grabs.

Selected screen grabs 2.

My first idea involved a portrait of David looking lost and frightened (I felt this was essential to the story), the Werewolf with it’s head bursting through the cinema shutters/signage (the idea of breaking the fourth wall), the decomposing Jack (a perfect metaphor for David’ s own life falling apart), his nightmare of the home invasion (one of the most effective and horrific moments in the film, I felt), plus Brian Glover’s ‘Slaughtered Lamb’ local – a look that defines rednecks and racists the word over when confronted by ‘other’!). I also wanted to add the tube attack victim to open up the carnage. Although Jenny Agutter’s nurse added the romantic dimension for an audience that expects the convention, I wanted to concentrate on David’s story, so chose to only include her face as if she were painted on the shutters, ie. a film poster element.

I was surprised that the client didn’t want the home invasion creatures, nor the reference to the sleazy cinema hordings (which I thought made a good location gag – obviously not!), they also did not want the rotting Jack. It was disappointing to lose these great horror elements, especially as they’d particularly wanted ‘horror’! But a compromise was reached by including the transformation scene at the bottom, and reinstating the moors (which I’d thought unnecessary).

Fortunately, my second sketch was well received and the painting could commence.

On the basis of the selected screen grabs, I make necessary light and contrast adjustments in photoshop, make them greyscale (removing the distraction of colour) and print them out at a size I can easily trace in pencil onto paper. All the pencil sketches are then scanned into photoshop, so that I can rearrange, resize and move around in order to determine the best layout, one which tells a story and has a visual impact. (I find it’s better to present sketched layouts rather than a photocomp’s, partly because the photographic material is usually of varying quality, but also because a pencil rough is more fluid and does not dictate the final impression).

Once I have my sketch approved I reintroduced the photographic source material over the sketched parts, so that my layout remains exactly as approved and so that I’ll have the best possible likenesses to trace onto the watercolour paper.

Early sketched elements.

I usually have a basic idea of what colours I’m going to use. In this instance I knew that I wanted a silvery blue moonlight to bathe the entire image, but also the contrast of the orange glow of artificial lighting, the pub and cinema foyer. I knew the big splash of red in the wolf’s jaw would jump out, becoming the focal point. This painting took about three days to complete, the sketch process (including the grabs) about a day upfront.

Composition design.

The final painting was scanned and all the text added in photoshop.

My client will now make a full size poster print, to be framed, from the file I send him. Next up, ‘The Thing’!

Final painting before text was added.

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Syfy Renews Z Nation for a 5th Season; Season 4 Finale Airs Tonight!

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Syfy’s popular zombie series “Z Nation” just keeps shambling on, and tonight the two-episode Season 4 finale, “Mt. Weather/The Black Rainbow,” airs. If you’re a fan of the show, we have good news for you… it’s not over yet as David Latt of The Asylum has announced on Twitter the pickup of “Z Nation” for a 5th season! So you can expect lots more adventures with the gang in 2018.

Below is the official word from David along with a brief synopsis of what’s ahead tonight in the finale, which kicks off at 9/8c.

Synopsis:
In the mind-bending two-hour Season 4 finale, Warren and the team must stop Zona from launching operation Black Rainbow, which will cleanse the landscape of both zombies and humans. In Part 2 the secret of Warren’s Black Rainbow dream is unlocked when they reach their final destination. The cast includes Kellita Smith as Roberta Warren, Keith Allan as Murphy, Russell Hodgkinson as Doc, Nat Zang as 10K, Gracie Gillam as Sgt. Lilley, DJ Qualls as Citizen Z, Ramona Young as Kaya, Justin Torrence as President Donald Trump, Michael Berryman as The Founder, Micheal Daks as Mr. Sunshine, Anastasia Baranova as Addy, Sydney Viengluang as Sun Mei, Joseph Gatt as The Man, and Natalie Jongjaroenlarp as Red.

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