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Trailer Debut for Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection on Blu-ray

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Today’s the day that Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection debuts on Blu-ray, and in honor of the occasion, Universal has released a trailer for the collection. See Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr., Claude Rains, and Elsa Lanchester in the roles that made them famous!

From the Press Release:
Digitally restored from high resolution film elements in perfect high-definition picture and perfect high-definition sound for the first time ever, Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection brings together the very best of Universal’s legendary monsters—imaginative and technically groundbreaking tales of terror that launched a uniquely American movie genre. This definitive collection features eight films on Blu-ray, a collectible 48-page book featuring behind-the-scenes photographs, original posters, correspondence, and much more.

Each iconic film is accompanied by an array of bonus features that tell the fascinating story of its creation and history, including behind-the-scenes documentaries, filmmaker commentaries, interviews, storyboards, photo galleries, and trailers. Especially appealing for fans are a never-before-seen featurette about the restoration of Dracula (see a little of that below) and the first ever offering of Creature from the Black Lagoon in its restored Blu-ray 3D version.

From the era of silent movies through the present day, Universal Pictures has been regarded as the home of the monsters. Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection honors the studio’s accomplishments with the most iconic monsters in motion-picture history, including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera, and Creature from the Black Lagoon. Featuring performances by legends of the horror genre, including Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr., Claude Rains, and Elsa Lanchester, these eight iconic films also feature groundbreaking special effects and innovative makeup that continue to influence filmmakers into the 21st century. Sure to be a Halloween favorite for years to come, Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection is the ideal gift for film buffs and horror aficionados alike.

Synopses and Bonus Features
Dracula (1931)
The original 1931 movie version of Bram Stoker’s classic tale has for generations defined the iconic look and terrifying persona of the famed vampire. Dracula owes its continued appeal in large part due to Bela Lugosi’s indelible portrayal of the immortal Count Dracula and the flawless direction of horror auteur Tod Browning. The Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection includes the original version of this chilling and evocative tale, as well as the rarely seen Spanish version of Dracula. Filmed simultaneously with the English language version, the Spanish version of Dracula is an equally ominous vision of the horror classic shot with the same sets and script. Cinematographer George Robinson and a vibrant cast including Carlos Villarias and Lupita Tovar deliver a chilling and evocative tale filled with the same terror, mystery, and intrigue.

Bonus Features:
• Dracula, the 1931 Spanish version, with Introduction by Lupita Tovar Kohner
• The Road to Dracula
• Lugosi: The Dark Prince
• Dracula: The Restoration – New Featurette Available for The First Time!
• Monster Tracks: Interactive Pop-Up Facts About the Making of Dracula
• Dracula Archives
• Score by Philip Glass performed by the Kronos Quartet
• Feature Commentary by Film Historian David J. Skal
• Feature Commentary by Steve Haberman, Screenwriter of Dracula: Dead and Loving It
• Trailer Gallery

Frankenstein (1931)
Boris Karloff stars as the screen’s most tragic and iconic monster in what many consider to be the greatest horror film ever made. Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) dares to tamper with the essential nature of life and death by creating a monster (Karloff) out of lifeless human body parts. Director James Whale’s adaptation of the Mary Shelley novel and Karloff’s compassionate portrayal of a creature groping for identity make Frankenstein a timeless masterpiece.

Bonus Features:
• The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster
• Karloff: The Gentle Monster
• Monster Tracks: Interactive Pop-Up Facts About The Making of Frankenstein
• Universal Horror
• Frankenstein Archives
• Boo!: A Short Film
• Feature Commentary with Film Historian Rudy Behlmer
• Feature Commentary with Historian Sir Christopher Frayling
• 100 Years Of Universal: Restoring the Classics
• Trailer Gallery

The Mummy (1932)
Horror icon Boris Karloff stars in the original 1932 version of The Mummy in which a team of British archaeologists accidentally revives a mummified high priest after 3,700 years. Alive again, he sets out on an obsessive—and deadly—quest to find his lost love. Over 50 years after its first release, this brooding dream-like horror classic remains a cinematic masterpiece.

Bonus Features:
• Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed
• He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art Of Jack Pierce
• Unraveling the Legacy of The Mummy
• The Mummy Archives
• Feature Commentary by Rick Baker, Scott Essman, Steve Haberman, Bob Burns and Brent Armstrong
• Feature Commentary by Film Historian Paul M. Jensen
• 100 Years Of Universal: The Carl Laemmle Era
• Trailer Gallery

The Invisible Man (1933)
Claude Rains delivers an unforgettable performance in his screen debut as a mysterious doctor who discovers a serum that makes him invisible. Covered by bandages and dark glasses, Rains arrives in a small English village and attempts to hide his amazing discovery, but the drug’s side effects slowly drive him to commit acts of unspeakable terror. Based on H.G. Welles’ classic novel and directed by the master of macabre, James Whale, The Invisible Man fueled a host of sequels and features revolutionary special effects that are still imitated today.

Bonus Features:
• Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed
• Production Photographs
• Feature Commentary with Film Historian Rudy Behlmer
• 100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
The acclaimed sequel to the original Frankenstein has become one of the most popular horror classics in film history. The legendary Boris Karloff reprises his role as the screen’s most misunderstood monster, now longing for a mate of his own. Colin Clive is back as the proud and overly ambitious Dr. Frankenstein, who creates the ill-fated bride (Elsa Lanchester). The last horror film directed by James Whale features a haunting musical score that helps make The Bride of Frankenstein one of the finest and most touching thrillers of its era.

Bonus Features:
• She’s Alive! Creating The Bride Of Frankenstein
• The Bride Of Frankenstein Archive
• Feature Commentary with Scott MacQueen
• 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics
• Trailer Gallery

The Wolf Man (1941)
Originally released in 1941, The Wolf Man introduced the world to a new Universal movie monster and redefined the mythology of the werewolf forever. Featuring a heartbreaking performance by Lon Chaney Jr. and groundbreaking make-up by Jack Pierce, The Wolf Man is the saga of Larry Talbot, a cursed man who transforms into a deadly werewolf when the moon is full. The dreamlike atmospheres, elaborate settings and chilling musical score combine to make The Wolf Man a masterpiece of the genre.

Bonus Features:
• Monster by Moonlight
• The Wolf Man: From Ancient Curse to Modern Myth
• Pure in Heart: The Life and Legacy of Lon Chaney, Jr.
• He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce
• The Wolf Man Archives
• Feature Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver
• 100 Years of Universal: The Lot
• Trailer Gallery

Phantom of the Opera (1943)
This lavish retelling of Gaston Leroux’s immortal horror tale stars Claude Rains as the masked phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House. A crazed composer who schemes to make beautiful young soprano Christine DuBois (Susanna Foster) the star of the opera company, the Phantom also wreaks revenge on those he believes stole his music. Nelson Eddy, as the heroic baritone, tries to win the affections of Christine as he tracks down the murderous, horribly disfigured Phantom.

Bonus Features:
• The Opera Ghost: A Phantom Unmasked
• Production Photographs
• Feature Commentary with Film Historian Scott MacQueen
• 100 Years of Universal: The Lot
• Theatrical Trailer

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Captured and imprisoned for scientific study, a living “amphibious missing link” becomes enamored with the head researcher’s female assistant (Julie Adams). When the hideous creature escapes and kidnaps the object of his affection, a crusade is launched to rescue the helpless woman and cast the terrifying creature back to the depths from which he came. Featuring legendary makeup artist Bud Westmore’s brilliantly designed monster, Creature from the Black Lagoon is an enduring tribute to the imaginative genius of its Hollywood creators.

Bonus Features:
• The Creature From The Black Lagoon in 3D
• Back to The Black Lagoon
• Production Photographs
• Feature Commentary with Film Historian Tom Weaver
• 100 Years of Universal: The Lot
• Trailer Gallery

Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection on Blu-ray

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Armageddon’s Will Patton Joins Blumhouse Halloween as a Police Officer

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It was just the other day that we let you guys know that filming on Blumhouse’s upcoming sequel to John Carpenter’s classic Halloween had kicked off in South Carolina.

And today we have news via The Tracking Board that yet another major member of the cast has been set with Will Patton joining Blumhouse’s Halloween as a police officer. Patton is a name you may recognize from such films as Armageddon, The Punisher, and The Puppet Masters.

No further details are known regarding Patton’s role at this point, but we will make sure to keep you guys up to date on any and all Halloween news as we hear it!

How excited are you for Blumhouse’s upcoming Halloween sequel from Danny McBride and director David Gordon Green? Let us know below!

Blumhouse’s Halloween hits theaters October 19, 2018.

Synopsis:

Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

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An Early Draft of Halloween 6 Has Been Released And It’s… Interesting

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When Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers premiered in 1995, audiences weren’t particularly enamored… Between the convoluted story line and the numerous rewrites and production cuts, only the most ardent of Halloween fans could be satisfied. Not to say the film was a complete failure — many have warmed up to its charms in recent years, praising the cast and cinematography, as well as for featuring the last great performance from the late Donald Pleasence.

But Halloween 5 and its cliffhanger ending had created many unanswered questions that would be left up to H6 writer Daniel Farrands to address. Who was this mysterious Man in Black? Why did he assist in Michael’s escape? And why do both characters share the same tattoo of an ancient rune symbol, which had not appeared in any of the prior films? With this kind of baggage, it seems Halloween 6 was doomed from the start.

But before Farrands was signed on to write, another script was considered. Penned by Phil Rosenberg, this draft, had it come to fruition, might’ve also been directed by Evil Dead II writer Scott Spiegel… In an interview with Fangoria, Spiegel spoke of this draft as well as of his meeting with Halloween producer Moustapha Akkad. “[Moustapha] was pretty cool. He had some reservations about me, but finally he said, ‘Ok, maybe we’ll use you to do a polish on a script that we’re considering, and then maybe we’ll let you direct it.’ When I read the screenplay, I said, ‘Oh boy.’ It reminded me of a Friday the 13th movie and presented Michael Myers as a homeless person. It was really unfocused and corny, and I just didn’t understand what this homeless element was about.”

As we know, both Spiegel and Rosenberg were dismissed from the project… and despite being a serious contender at one point, a displeased Akkad reportedly tossed Rosenberg’s draft across the room. Spiegel continued, “I really was relieved. The script that we were going to shoot at the time was going to be hard to overcome. And my feeling was that I didn’t need to be the one to make a crummy sequel to what had been a decent series of films.”

Damn… how bad can this script be? Luckily, we just found out! Rosenberg’s draft was recently sold to a fan on eBay, who was gracious enough to share with us! Below, we provide a brief overview… or if you feel compelled, you may read the script for yourself to see what could’ve been Halloween 6!


Titled Halloween 666: The Origin, this draft follows Dana Childress, a young news reporter from Chicago whose dreams are plagued by the midwest’s most notorious serial killer — Michael Myers. With a news crew in tow (including her interest Robert Clifton), Dana reluctantly travels to Haddonfield to get the scoop on the town’s first Halloween celebration in five years. Sound familiar?

It just so happens that original Halloween survivor Tommy Doyle is also at the forefront of this script — here, he is presented as a 29-year-old outcast, obsessed with the boogeyman that tormented his youth… newspaper clippings of Myers’ crimes adorn his walls. That’s… coincidental; another element that made it to the screen (but had first appeared in Dennis Etchison’s Halloween 4 draft, which you can read here).

And yes… Michael Myers is now homeless. He sleeps in dark alley ways and can openly walk through a shelter… Interesting. While Tommy advocates for the ban on Halloween, Dana and Robert venture through the town, making a pit stop at the former home of Lindsey Wallace — another child who survived Michael’s first rampage. She doesn’t appear in the script, having moved to New York after years of therapy… but her parents still reside in the house where Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) discovered the bodies in the original film. Informing the group they were once associates of the Myers family, the couple invites the news crew inside.

While watching home video footage of young Michael, Dana becomes alarmed… his grandmother bears a striking resemblance to her own. Both women also possess the same figurine of a bronze-masked soldier with a spear (a good luck charm in the lore of Samhain?) And with that, the implausible revelation that Dana is Michael’s sister takes shape… This feels rather contrived, with many fans having already lamented the decision to establish a relationship between Laurie and Michael in Halloween II.

Undeniably, the most outlandish aspect of this draft is the virtual reality element… You see, Tommy possesses a VR program — described as a “high tech Ouiji board” — that allows one to see within the netherworld… Taking a few notes from the 3D finale of Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare(?), this concept would allow Tommy and Dana to witness flashbacks of the early Samhain festivals, as well as how the Myers family came to be cursed after defying the Gods… Maybe I’m simple minded, but this seems far more confusing than what ended up on screen. Read for yourself and see what you make of it… (although I do feel compelled to reveal that Judith Myers’ desecrated grave is the portal into this netherworld).

It’s an ambitious script alright… one in which the initial setup might’ve had me for a few earlier sequences. Aside from the confusing Samhain and virtual reality elements, Michael also seems to be exploited for comic relief… For example: To reach his targets, our beloved psychopath would’ve been shown as needing to stand on a toilet commode to break through the ceiling… and this is after he shoves a kissing couple out of the bathroom and slams the door shut. To boot, few seem worried about Myers’ return as most are oblivious (and typically laugh off his presence). Because of this, there’s only a few scenes that might warrant real tension. The kills are equally all over the place; at one point, Michael shoves a rat down the throat of a Droog-costumed frat boy. Later, he kills a hockey masked party-goer through use of a beer bong and copious amounts of alcohol…

Regarding those loose ends created by Halloween 5, the Thorn tattoo isn’t explained and there’s only one or two references to the Man in Black character; enough to reveal the identity which should come as a nice shock to fans… It’s Father Carpenter! If this name doesn’t ring a bell, that’s because it’s supposed to be the Reverend Sayer character from Halloween 4… here, he is played up for the creeps in a role that I couldn’t help but correlate with Henry Kane from Poltergeist II. Also returning is Ben Meeker, the former sheriff of the previous two films. Like Tommy, he is dismissive of the town’s newfound willingness to celebrate the holiday.

Unfortunately, Dr. Loomis only appears in one scene. He resides within the mental ward of a hospital, possibly by choice considering the phrasing — the good doctor who spent years treating Michael is now back where he started, albeit in a different position… An inspired decision! But here, he simply “passes the torch” to Tommy and this is the last we see of him. Seems like a wasted opportunity.

A notable character who doesn’t make any real appearance is Jamie Lloyd, who, after serving as the protagonist of the previous two films, is simply said to be MIA. We are, however, treated to a brief glimpse of Myers’ niece in the form of a series of rapid shots during the Samhain/virtual reality segment: Surrounded by scattering rats, Jamie screams as she is trapped in a cage made of human bones.

While I’m not in love with many elements of this script, I do think following a news reporter as she travels to Haddonfield would’ve made for a nice starting point. I’ve only given a basic overview so I’d encourage any Halloween fan to read the script for themselves.

Furthermore, I think the existence of this draft (and its criticism among fan circles; my own included) captures the limitations of what a Halloween film is allowed to do. In comparison to the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street sequels, the Halloween films have suffered from a creative bankruptcy due to the fact that the original film was grounded in reality. Stray too far and you face the risk of pissing off the fans that would prefer a safer, more traditional route — a sequel/reboot that might amount to nothing more than a reiteration of the original (a film far too simple to really merit a continuing story line unless new ideas are developed). A few months back, I posted an interview with Robert Harders, who shared his original take on Halloween 5… I thought his ideas were great and could’ve made for a unique yet still satisfying entry — however, most fans seemed dismissive.

I do not believe this draft of Halloween 6 should’ve been the way to go… and as hypocritical as my think piece sounds, this upcoming film should be all the more stronger for only referencing the original (in all of its simple glory). But, as with H20, this upcoming film has a hook; and that is Jamie Lee Curtis’ return — that aspect should elevate the story tremendously, but without her presence we’d be back at square one. I would love to see a modern version where Michael stalks babysitters without any references to the previous films… but after that?

Are we limited to tropes such as Halloween… but in a hospital? Halloween… but during an early winter storm? Halloween… but this time, Michael fixates on a male? I guess so… and these are all worthy ideas, might I add… but how long can this series really last? Another forty years? Could the reboot open the doors for Seth Rogen and James Franco Meet Michael Myers? Will the series experience a creative renaissance down the road… in line with the Frankenstein entries released by Hammer Films in the ’70s? The possibilities could be endless… even involving virtual reality perhaps?

With the idea in mind that a fan might become burnt out by watching the same rehashed material, perhaps it’s best that we’ve endured almost ten years between films… When considering this Halloween 6 draft, I think we should be aware of how difficult it can be to create a fresh and groundbreaking entry that would warrant the creator’s time… as well as proving satisfying to all… or most… or even a portion, if lucky. In any case, the upcoming film looks to please and we need not worry for now.

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Sulphur for Leviathan to Haunt the Festival Circuit

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Last year’s The Temple of Lilith will be receiving a thirteen minute companion piece in the form of Sulphur for Leviathan. Read on for more.

From the Press Release:
Sodom & Chimera Productions has debuted the first trailer and new stills for Sulphur for Leviathan, the 13 minute companion piece to last year’s The Temple of Lilith.

Sulphur for Leviathan is the newest blending of arthouse and horror from experimental filmmaker James Quinn, who proudly stated, “Sulphur for Leviathan is a film that started out purely as an idea of rage. An outcry of anger against the anti-rationalism of the Catholic church, in this case not the more widely discussed controversies such as reoccurring cases of pedophilia and abuse, but rather the many moral codes they like to preach, like the commonly known ‘turn the other cheek’. While that may sound like a rather aggressive reason for a film, it is in its essence nothing but a piece of food for thought, intended to raise some questions about tough moral decisions that would be executed in a vastly different way outside of the religious concept.”

Sulphur for Leviathan stars Susan M. Martin as The Nun, known for Plank Face and Space Babes from Outer Space, as well as Jerry Larew as Lucifer, widely known for his portrayal of Alfie in the She Was So Pretty films. Other roles include Craig Long as Satan, and Joseph Knapik, head of the Columbus Zombie Walk, as a demon priest.

The score was created by composer Leanna Primiani, who recently worked on the award winning horror short The Daughters of Virtue. The film also features music by the band Come to Grief, a Doom/Sludge Metal band from Boston, whose song Killed by Life was used for the end credits.

Sulphur for Leviathan revolves around a nun, who suddenly finds herself progressively fantasizing about things that shouldn’t be in her head, increasingly having to face her own doings of blasphemy, all leading up to something demonically dark and sinister. Portrayed in a surreal manner both in color and black and white, with a heavy focus on elegant cinematography, the film tells a satanic tale of unfulfilled desires, lust, blasphemy and existential dread, packed in a controversial and disturbing, but calm and poetic experience that is heavily inspired by Andrei Tarkovsky, with a touch of satanism.

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