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Dread Central Takes on Delusion: The Blood Rite

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Haunted Play

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Last year, famed Hollywood stuntman Jon Braver unleashed DELUSION onto unsuspecting Los Angelinos. It was a unique hybrid between live theatre and a haunted attraction that sent you running for your life through a creepy mansion full of psychopaths and death-defying stunts.

The sheer ingenuity of it blew my mind and I was hoping that it would be the first of many annual haunts we’d see from this team.

Well wonders never cease because Braver has returned to the scene, teaming up with the great Neil Patrick Harris for a follow-up round of mayhem with DELUSION: THE BLOOD RITE. Stepping onto the site of the looming white mansion near downtown L.A., ticketholders are ushered into a Victorian style bar to suck down novelty drinks (tasty concoctions like “Blood Type-O” and “Gravekeepers Grog”) while they wait and are informed “not to touch the actors back.” That’s right: back. If you thought you’d be an unaffected bystander here, think again.

Groups of twelve are taken into the foreboding mansion and are quickly filled in on the plot: The setting is 1918 and you assume the role of a group of World War I veterans who have felt a strange supernatural pull to the mansion of Dr. Frederick Lowell. The deceased owner was of the mad-scientist type and his home is now populated by former patients, all of whom are mad, psychotic and possess crazy supernatural abilities. Without saying too much, your presence there opens up a giant can of worms and it’s up to you to survive the night through a series of ghoulish tests.

This year, the number of performers, set pieces and stunts have tripled, and Braver has amped up the interactive elements to make every person a full-fledged participant in the horror. Don’t expect to simply walk through and be a passive observer here. Every room had us interacting with the performers and environment in order to progress the story (think the world’s most demented LARP game) and Braver & Co invent all sorts of wild tasks for you to perform. I wouldn’t dream of spoiling all the surprises in store, but let’s just say that one of the tamer moments had this writer physically moving a body across the room as “bait.”

DELUSION is not about people in rubber masks jumping out of the darkness to make you jump. This haunt is largely driven by story and exposition which makes for a more immersive experience and scares that are a lot more fun – especially when your actions have dire repercussions on certain members of your group. In fact, Braver and Harris have gone to great lengths to ensure that no two people will experience Delusion the same way.

I can’t say enough about the stunt work on display here: It’s truly jaw-dropping. This isn’t the typical action you’d find on a stage or theme park stunt show… this is real deal Hollywood stuff; the kind of chaos you’d see in a big-screen Hollywood possession movie only it’s being performed live and all around you. Actors don’t merely pop out of the shadows, they scurry up walls and fly through the air thanks to expertly-timed wirework and lighting.

I won’t mince words: DELUSION is the most impressive Halloween attraction I’ve ever seen, and makes all other haunts seem like school-yard amateurs. Braver, Harris and the team have effectively evolved the haunted house business into the next great thing in live entertainment. If you do one thing this October, make sure it’s this because you won’t find anything else out there like it.

DELUSION: THE BLOOD RITE is running now through November 10th. Book your tickets at Haunted Play online or regret it forever.



Neil Patrick Harris Celebrates Halloween with Delusion: The Crimson Queen; Auditions Under Way

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The Shape of Water Scores 7 Nominations at This Year’s Golden Globes

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Earlier today we let you know Jordan Peele’s horror-thriller Get Out scored nods at this year’s Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture and Best Actor – both in the Comedy category.

Strange.

That said, another film from our beloved genre is getting some love in the form of writer-director Guillermo del Toro’s new creature feature The Shape of Water.

The film was given nominations in a staggering 7 categories including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for Sally Hawkins, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for Octavia Spencer, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for Richard Jenkins.

Del Toro also scored nods for his work as director and co-screenwriter for the film.

You can check out the full list of nominations right HERE.

The film is directed by Guillermo del Toro, written by Vanessa Taylor and del Toro, and stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stulbarg, and Doug Jones.

The Shape of Water is currently playing in theaters.

Synopsis:
In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

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Get Out Scores Golden Globe Nominations… as a Comedy

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It was a few weeks back now when we let you guys in on the rather puzzling news that the Golden Globes was considering Jordan Peele horror-thriller Get Out as a nominee…

As a comedy.

As strange as that news was, it seems it wasn’t a joke in its own right as Jordan Peele’s Get Out has scored a nomination for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The news broke this morning with the full release of this year’s nominations via EW.

You can check out the full list HERE.

One cool thing is that actor Daniel Kaluuya also scored a nod for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – again, Musical or Comedy. Sad and borderline ridiculous that Peele didn’t score nods as director OR screenwriter. For shame, Golden Globes.

What do you think of this news? Are you just glad Get Out got SOME love from this year’s Gloden Globes, or could you care less about awards season? Let us know below!

Synopsis:
Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship; but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could never have imagined.

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Exclusive: Scream 2’s Jerry O’Connell and Kevin Williamson Talk Leaked Scripts and Different Killers!

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Twenty years ago, Wes Craven’s Scream 2 managed to break box office records, opening with a domestic total of $39.2 million. Despite heavy competition against Titanic and Tomorrow Never Dies, the film went on to gross over $172 million worldwideDue to the runaway success of the original film, anticipation for its sequel was high and come December 12th, 1997, audiences flocked to the theatre to follow the continued exploits of traumatized survivor Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell); Woodsboro’s sheepish deputy Dewey (David Arquette); and his media-obsessed flame Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox).

While few would argue that any of the Scream sequels could top the original, Scream 2 comes pretty close; the series only consists of four films, so there’s not much room for competition (with each having their own strengths) — but Scream 2 has consistently rated as a fan favorite. The film takes the self-referential commentary to the next level with its dissection of horror sequels, as well as the introduction of the film-within-a-film Stab (based on the events of Scream).

Aside from its pop culture references, part of the appeal of the Scream franchise is that it isn’t your typical slasher series. Rather groundbreaking at the time, the films incorporate elements from all genres — horror, comedy, action, drama — all wrapped within an Agatha Christie-esque ‘whodunit?’ mystery thriller. The guessing game as to who is behind the Ghostface mask is what makes these films all the more enjoyable.

One of the more notorious killers of the series is Scream 2‘s Debbie Salt. Initially thought to be a pesky reporter looking to ride on Gale Weathers’ coattails… In a Friday the 13th-inspired(?) twist, it is revealed that Debbie Salt is none other than Mrs. Loomis — the mother of the previous film’s killer — seeking revenge on Sidney and Gale for the murder of her son. While Mrs. Loomis was always set to orchestrate the events at Windsor College… rather than “freaky Tarantino film student” Mickey (Timothy Olyphant), one particular draft implies the enraged mother was intended to have a different set of accomplices…

In response to the hype for Scream 2, major precautions were taken to ensure the safety of the film’s ending. Despite this, it is well known that a draft of the script was leaked onto the internet before production began. In the 2011 documentary Still Screaming, the late Wes Craven remarked, “[Writer] Kevin [Williamson] sent us, I think, something like thirty pages by email. We read it, it was fabulous — it was on the internet, in its entirety, that night.” 

“One of the endings was definitely posted on the internet,” added producer Marianne Magdalena. Indeed! There is an online version of the script which features none other than Sidney’s boyfriend Derek (Jerry O’Connell) and best friend Hallie (Elise Neal) as the killers.

On whether he was aware of this, Jerry O’Connell tells us, “I didn’t know about that until after — like years after. Somebody told me — I think at a comic con or something… because we never got the ending. When we first got the script, I got everything but the last twenty pages. I think they rewrote the ending — I’m not sure if it got leaked or what, but the script had a weird non-copyable pattern on it that you couldn’t make xerox copies of it.

It’s funny. Revisiting the film, I guess I could see that but Timothy Olyphant was so good in that — in that turn — it was sort of fun to see him do that.”

Initially believing this script to be real — with the change in killers an effort to combat the script’s leak — we caught up with writer Kevin Williamson to discuss this purported draft. As he revealed, this script (which has been circulating the web since 1997) isn’t real at all — but it’s not entirely fake either. “The Hallie and Derek ending was a dummy draft. At the time the script was written, the studio was determined to keep the plot details under wraps.

They were worried the killer’s identity would be leaked, so we wrote several endings. Three in all, if memory serves, and when actors and potential crew members asked to read the script, we would send the script with the dummy ending.”  

As it turns out, Mickey was always intended to be Mrs. Loomis’ accomplice… but one can’t help but ponder the idea of different killers. “There was even a fake ending where Dewey was the killer. They existed as a decoy and nothing more. Extreme measures, but we really wanted to keep the killer’s identity a secret!”

The details of this particular script are rather interesting — it reads fairly similar to the final film, but contains a few extra scenes and reversed character roles. As in the film, Sidney is taken into protective custody after Randy’s death — but in this version, Hallie does not accompany her; she and Joel had to Windsor’s film department to retrieve footage for her film class. After watching Mickey fall prey during an attack with Ghostface, Sidney heads for the campus theatre, closely followed by Gale — who has just survived her own encounter with the killer; Dewey, on the other hand, not so much…

Inside the theatre, Sidney finds the bodies of Joel, Hallie, and Dewey — all strung up in the same manner as Derek in the film. Terrified, she tries to escape but comes across Cotton Weary — his arms and legs bound by tape. She attempts to help before Derek enters, revealing himself to be the killer.

This would have been an odd choice to consider — the Derek we know in the film is a genuinely likable character. Considering her poor taste in previous boyfriends, Derek as an innocent adds warmth to Sidney’s story (she would carry his gifted fraternity letters in Scream 3). But in this script, he’s totally whacked in the head…

The revelation scene follows closely to the final version. Derek begins taunting Sidney as she contemplates whether or not to unbind Cotton. Knowing that her boyfriend couldn’t have acted alone, Sidney fears Cotton might be his accomplice… until one of the nearby bodies springs to life. Hallie emerges from behind, grabs Sidney, and cackles.

Personally, I would’ve loved to have seen Elise Neal as the Ghostface killer… In the final film, when Dewey considers this, he notes, “Serial killers are typically white males,” to which Randy retorts, “But that’s why it’s perfect! It’s sort of against the rules, but not really!”

According to this script, Derek and Hallie had met on a horror movie chat board. Both serial killer fanatics, the two had forged a relationship and initiated themselves into Sidney’s life. O’Connell’s response? “That’s hilarious. My own relationship with Elise is still great. It’s super fun to see her career — everyone’s career — do well after that. I’ve really stayed in touch with Elise over the years and that would’ve been a lot of fun. She’s a great actress.”

The motive isn’t particularly fleshed out. Like Mickey, neither were preoccupied with being apprehended for the crimes. The only goal was to reap the rewards(?) of a high-profile media trial. Soon after, Mrs. Loomis arrives with Gale at gunpoint. She proceeds to shoot her helpful but worthless sidekicks, revealing she intends to frame Cotton Weary for the murders — the same man who was erroneously charged with the murder of Sidney’s mother.

Unbeknownst to Mrs. Loomis, Cotton has managed to free himself from his ties and lunges at the crazed woman, knife in hand. He repeatedly stabs her until the madness ceases. But Cotton has truly considered Mrs. Loomis’ words; he stabs Gale and tosses her body into the theatre’s orchestra pit. And with that, we now have Scream 2‘s pseudo-fourth(!) killer…

If we were to consider this version, having Sidney’s boyfriend serve as the killer again might’ve proved repetitive… but in turn, might’ve also served as a greater red herring — one wouldn’t have expected Kevin Williamson to tread down that road again. McConnell is equally dismissive of the possibility:

“No, I mean, I love that final ending. It’s a little disturbing — spoiler alert, everybody — to see a hole get blown through my chest. It was thrilling, sort of like an iconic ending — and a lot of people argue that the sequel was just as good as the first one. So it’s sort of fun to be a part of that whole crucifixtion ending… It’s fun to be a part of an iconic death scene. Between that and Piranha, I’m doing pretty well in the horror world.

But yeah, I would’ve had fun playing the killer! But I’m not here to tell Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven what they should be doing with their stories… If they felt I was dying at the end, then that was it, I was dying at the end!”

In any case, had this draft come to fruition, it would’ve been notable for featuring not two… not three… but four(!) killers, as well as the first (and so far only) African-American killer. Diversity? I don’t know… but I still say Elise Neal would’ve killed in that role — literally.

In honor of the 20th anniversary, O’Connell also reminisced on the film’s success, saying, “I think it was the first film that really set the tone — so a lot of praise has to go to that first film — and it was a combination of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson. Wes — God rest his soul — was just such a cool cat. And one of the most confident, kind, nice – one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with. Literally, every time I walk on a set, I really say a small prayer for him because he was the best. The best. And I think it was just him and Williamson getting together – it just made for a great team.

Also, it was a really fun, young cast. We had a lot of fun off set, we had a lot of fun on set… Liev Schreiber (Cotton Weary) was there to goof around with everyone as well. It was just… everything fell into place.

Big props have to also go to a guy named Richard Potter, who’s sort of an unsung hero of it. He worked at Dimension at the time and he had a lot to do with the story — I believe he was the Dimension executive on the project. He had a lot to do with everything as well, so Richard Potter was a dude that was really elementary. And also Julie Plec [Wes Craven’s assistant].

I know Richard had a lot to do with Scream and the decisions — the first film, the second film, the third film — he and Julie Plec were the real sort of advocates for the whole Scream world.

I love Scream 2 and anytime anybody wants to talk about it? It’s a real favorite of mine. I’m really proud of the film.” 

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